Dempster progressing, but no timetable yet


Dempster progressing, but no timetable yet

Manager Dale Sveum said Ryan Dempster was a "shoe-in" to represent the Cubs in the All-Star Game next month before the veteran wound up on the disabled list.

Dempster, who has been out since June 18 with a strained right lat muscle, will not return until after the All-Star break. However, the 35-year-old right-hander was progressing and planned to throw from 120 feet on flat ground Friday.

"Everything's been on schedule as far as what we're trying to do and the procress of him getting better each time he throws the ball," Sveum said. "There's no timetable for anything yet, but we'll monitor it and hopefully everything keeps going well...That will be big to see how he feels after 120 feet."

Dempster got off to a blazing hot start to the season with a 2.11 ERA and 1.03 WHIP and figures to be one of the Cubs' most coveted assets on the trade market, but the organization won't rush him back just to get a deal done.

"The earliest would be sometime right after the All-Star break," Sveum said. "We're still going to make sure everything's good and he holds up to whatever he can tolerate."

Randy Wells took Dempster's place in the rotation for the last two starts, but was designated for assignment after his start on Tuesday, leaving a hole in the Cubs' rotation.

"There are a couple options right now, but we'll probably finalize it today after the game," Sveum said Friday. "We have Coleman. It'll be Volstad's day to throw. Those are a couple of the options that we're just kind of weighing right now."

Volstad started the season in the Cubs' rotation, but carried a 7.46 ERA and 1.61 WHIP through eight starts. He was 0-6 and opposing batters were hitting .302 off him. He was sent down to Triple-A, where he has a 4.44 ERA and 1.40 WHIP in eight starts.

Wells began the year in Triple-A before joining the big-league bullpen in late May. He started two games in Dempster's absence, but walked eight batters in 6.2 innings and saw his ERA and WHIP rise to 5.34 and 2.06, respectively.

Coleman made 17 starts for the Cubs last season, but also boasts a 7.32 ERA after surrendering seven runs in 1.2 innings Wednesday against the Mets.

The Cubs don't need to make a decision with their rotation until Monday.

SportsTalk Live Podcast: Can the Bears pull off an upset at home against Tom Brady and the Patriots?


SportsTalk Live Podcast: Can the Bears pull off an upset at home against Tom Brady and the Patriots?

Chris Emma, Matt Zahn and Gabe Ramirez join David Kaplan on the panel.

0:00- NBC Sports National NBA Insider Tom Haberstroh joins the panel to discuss the Bulls’ terrible defensive performance as well as Zach LaVine’s impressive season debut.

11:35- Khalil Mack is listed as questionable for Sunday’s game against the Patriots. Can the Bears pull off the upset against Tom Brady?

23:50- NBC Sports Boston Patriots insider Tom E. Curran joins Kap to talk about how New England views the Bears and discuss how Matt Nagy’s team can exploit the Patriots’ weaknesses.

Listen to the full episode at this link or in the embedded player below.


Bulls announce substitute broadcasters for first five Neil Funk-less games


Bulls announce substitute broadcasters for first five Neil Funk-less games

If you haven't heard, Neil Funk is cutting 20 road games from his 2018-19 Bulls' play-by-play schedule.

Friday, the Bulls announced that Adam Amin, Andy Demetra and Kyle Draper will fill in for Funk for the first five of those games.

Amin, a play-by-play commentator for ESPN, will games on Oct. 22 against the Mavericks and Nov. 14 against the Celtics. He grew up in Addison, resides in Chicago and also does play-by-play for Bears preseason games.

Demetra is from Oak Brook and currently is the play-by-play broadcaster for Georgia Tech basketball and football. He will call games on Oct. 26 against the Hornets and Oct. 27 against the Hawks. He has previous play-by-play experience with the SEC Network, Pac-12 Network and Fox Sports South.

Draper will call the Bulls' Nov. 7 game against the Pelicans. He is the Celtics' pregame and postgame host for NBC Sports Boston and an occasional play-by-play annoucer and sideline reporter for the Celtics.

The Bulls said they will continue providing updates on substitute broadcasters as they are scheduled.