So far, so good for Ryan Dempster's journey from closer to starter Print
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Tuesday, 04 March 2008 17:24
MLB Headline News

 MESA, Ariz. (AP) -Ryan Dempster is trying to make the transition from closer to starting pitcher.
So far, so good.
After a 32-pitch first inning, Dempster rebounded to work three innings in the Chicago Cubs' 10-6 loss to the Milwaukee Brewers Tuesday.
Gabe Gross hit a solo home run leading off the top of the 10th against Cubs reliever Jose Ascanio (0-1). Milwaukee went on to score three more times, making a winner of reliever Steve Bray.
Dempster was the first Chicago pitcher to go three innings this spring, as was Claudio Vargas for the Brewers.
``I kind of got away from game plan a little bit in the first,'' Dempster said. ``I just settled down after that, got some good work in and attacked the strike zone again. It's a good day's work.''
Dempster began his career as a starter with the Florida Marlins in 1998. He underwent reconstructive elbow surgery in 2003 while with Cincinnati. The Cubs converted him to a closer in 2005. Now, Dempster is looking to return to the rotation.
``I just try and make pitches and get outs and keep the at-bats short,'' he said. ``After that inning, it seemed like I had three or four pitches at most to every hitter. That's ultimately what you're trying to do, get quick outs. By doing that. I allowed myself to throw three innings today rather than two or a little less than three.''
The Brewers scored once in the first against Dempster. Mike Cameron doubled with one out. After J.J. Hardy popped out, Dempster hit Ryan Braun with a pitch. Bill Hall walked, and a walk to Brad Nelson forced home a run.
The Cubs scored three times in the third against Vargas. Kosuke Fukudome (3-for-3) homered with one out. It was Fukudome's first home run and extra-base hit this spring.
After Derrek Lee walked and Tyler Colvin singled, Geovany Soto doubled home both runners.
``All my pitches were working good,'' Vargas said. ``It's still early, and sometimes we miss pitches, like today. There are a lot of games in spring training to work on things.''
Cameron was 2-for-3 with 3 runs scored for Milwaukee. Tony Gwynn was 2-for-5, including a fourth-inning two-run homer off Sean Gallagher. Cameron also homered against Gallagher.
Notes: The Cubs say left fielder Alfonso Soriano will be out close to a week with a broken right middle finger. Soriano injured the finger Sunday during flyball drills. Originally, the Cubs said they hoped Soriano would be out 3-5 days ... Cubs third baseman Aramis Ramirez is expected to make his Cactus League debut Thursday against Oakland. Ramirez had not played yet because of a sore right shoulder. He has been able to take batting practice. Ramirez also has fielded groundballs, but he has not thrown.
 

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