CHICAGO -- Chris Volstad is on his way back and will take the mound Tuesday for the Cubs in Atlanta.
The tall right-hander had been cut down to size early in the season when he began the year 0-6 and the Cubs had lost each one of his eight starts. He was finally sent down to Triple-A Iowa, where he delivered mixed results.
His 4.44 ERA at Iowa was better than his 7.46 mark with the Cubs, but he has gone just 2-3 at Triple-A. He has pitched better of late, though, and Tuesday is his regularly-scheduled day to pitch.
Early in the season Volstad struggled with his heavy sinker, but that is starting to show some effectiveness of late.
“Hopefully the way he threw the ball the other day, his ball was really sinking and he was getting quick ground balls and efficiency,” manager Dale Sveum said. “Hopefully we can see the same thing.”
It could happen early in a game or later, but the one thing that always seemed to happen during a Volstad start was one meltdown inning. His issues seemed more mental than anything.
“Who knows what it is; that’s always the million-dollar question,” Sveum said, “It’s been mainly getting through an inning when a little trouble comes up. That’s what he had trouble doing. He had as many shutout innings as anybody, he just couldn’t reduce some of those [big] innings to one run. It was always multiple-run innings.”
Dempster’s rotation spot actually comes up next on Monday, but because of Thursday’s off day, Jeff Samardzija can take the mound Monday on regular rest. The Dempster spot can then be moved back a day to accommodate Volstad’s schedule.
The other option the Cubs were considering for a spot was to use Casey Coleman, but he gave up seven runs on six hits with two walks in 1 2/3 innings on Wednesday.