Volstad an option in Dempster spot

CHICAGO -- The return of Chris Volstad to the Chicago Cubs rotation could happen as early as Monday at Atlanta.

That is the next time Ryan Dempster's spot comes up again and the Cubs are going to need to decide on a starter after Randy Wells was designated for assignment this week. Dempster is on the disabled list with a sore latissimus dorsi muscle and isn’t expected to pitch again until after the All-Star break.

For the second time since Dempster went on the shelf, manager Dale Sveum has mentioned Volstad for the role. The right-hander earned a starting spot out of spring training, but he opened the season 0-6 with a 7.46 ERA and the Cubs lost all eight of his starts.

Volstad has now made eight starts at Triple-A Iowa now and his numbers are slightly better than what they were with the Cubs. He is 2-3 with a 4.44 ERA and has struck out 41 batters compared to 12 walks.

“Yeah there's probably just a couple options right now, but we'll probably finalize it today after the game,” Sveum said. “You have (Casey) Coleman, and it'll be Volstad's day. Those are the couple of options we're just kind of weighing right now.”

Coleman has a 7.32 ERA in 16 relief outings, but had been a starter when he was at Iowa. He was roughed up in his last outing, though, giving up seven runs on six hits and two walks in just 1 2/3 innings on Wednesday against the New York Mets.