06/09/11 10:53 PM ET
Rain interrupts rehab stints for Johnson, Baker
By Carrie Muskat / MLB.com
Johnson has been sidelined since May 26 with back spasms. He started in center field and struck out swinging in his first at-bat leading off and grounded out in the third.
Baker, out since May 29 with a strained left groin, started at second base and grounded out in the first and popped up in the fourth before play was stopped.
Both players had contributed off the bench this season before they were hurt. They were expected to be joined on Sunday by Alfonso Soriano, who has been rehabbing a strained left quad in Mesa, Ariz.
Dempster's hip OK, on track to make next start
PHILADELPHIA -- Cubs pitcher Ryan Dempster had no problems Thursday with his right hip, which was sore during warmups on Wednesday and nearly forced him to be a late scratch.
Dempster felt some discomfort in his hip in the bullpen before the Cubs' game against the Reds at Great American Ball Park, but he was able to throw 113 pitches over six innings and get the win.
"He did his running today and everything led me to believe he's on track to start in five days," manager Mike Quade said of Dempster, whose next scheduled start is Monday against the Brewers at Wrigley Field.
Dempster (5-5, 5.96 ERA) struck out eight in the Cubs' 4-1 win and actually had one of his better outings despite the sore hip.
"I don't know if you relax more or what the deal is," Quade said. "I thought command-wise, stuff-wise, and -- particularly -- location of all his pitches was as good as I've seen all season."
Dempster said it was tough to push off with his right leg because of his hip.
"You get no power and it affects your breaking stuff, too," Quade said. "Now you're watching like a hawk when he starts the game and you know he's going to give you what he's got. He just seemed to be in control of himself. In my mind, he says, 'I'm going to have to make pitches. I may not be as sharp' -- but he was."
That doesn't mean Quade wants his pitchers pitching hurt.
Marmol needs to be cognizant of arm angle
PHILADELPHIA -- Apparently, when Carlos Marmol gets angry, he pitches better.
The Cubs' closer picked up his 11th save on Wednesday against the Reds, rebounding from his blown save last Sunday in St. Louis. Marmol talked to manager Mike Quade as well as pitching coach Mark Riggins on Wednesday and went over some video.
Quade talked to Marmol not just about being irritated after the game against the Cardinals when he served up a game-tying RBI double to Ryan Theriot in the ninth, but about his arm angle, too.
"He's got to constantly be aware of that," Quade said.
In his last four games, Marmol has given up one run on four hits, one walk and struck out seven over 4 2/3 innings. Quade looks at the big picture.
"If it's 10 days and five rough outings or four, then it's time to go 'Whew,'" Quade said. "It was a minor adjustment and I operate under the impression that nobody's perfect. Before I think what's wrong with Marmol, I better take a close look at it."
Quade makes All-Star pitch for Marshall
PHILADELPHIA -- Who will be the Cubs' All-Star in July? How about Sean Marshall?
The southpaw reliever has a 1.03 ERA and has not given up a run since May 13. Left-handed hitters are batting .205 against him, while right-handers are batting .262.
"I think so," manager Mike Quade said about his setup man deserving to be named to the National League All-Star team. "I haven't personally seen anybody I'd rather have in that role, but I see him day in and day out."
Marshall has moved beyond being a situational lefty.
"He's pretty good when the situation presents itself," Quade said.
What's even better than his curve is his attitude.
"He never gets flustered, and I love that about him," Quade said. "I try to match up him and [Kerry Wood] -- who's best for the seventh, best for the eighth. That's the thing that separates 'Marsh' as much as anything [is he can handle anyone]. If he happens to pitch to a tough left-hander and then two right-handers, he can do it.
"I wouldn't take anybody ahead of him [as a left-handed setup man], off the top of my head," Quade said.
The All-Star Game will be played July 12 in Phoenix.
Carrie Muskat is a reporter for MLB.com. She writes a blog, Muskat Ramblings, and you can follow her on Twitter@CarrieMuskat. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.