<
>

'Night and day' differences for Volstad

ATLANTA -- Chris Volstad is back, saying he is a changed man.

The Chicago Cubs right-hander, who went through some massive struggles at the start of the season, will be activated before Tuesday’s game and pitch that night in Ryan Dempster's rotation spot. Dempster is still out with a sore lat muscle.

“I don’t know if anybody else will be able to tell anything, but the big thing is for me the difference is night and day,” Volstad said. “Whatever is going to happen will happen. You can’t worry about it. You can control a few things but not 100 percent of the things. From the standpoint of me as a person and a player it’s night and day.”

The reality is that things can only go up from where Volstad was at the start of the season. He opened the year 0-6 with a 7.46 ERA and the Cubs actually lost all eight of his starts. He was finally demoted to Triple-A Iowa.

He showed improvement at Iowa and felt he was back on his game over his last three starts.

“I was just pressing,” Volstad said of his earlier stint with the Cubs. “I needed to just play the game again, you know, instead of the other way around. I needed to have fun and do my thing and do what I know I am able to do. Just basically relax and enjoy it.”

He might not have much of a chance to show it. He will start Tuesday and would be in line to start again Sunday in the first-half finale at New York against the Mets. But with Dempster expected to come off the disabled list at the start of the second half, it figures to be more time back at Iowa.

“My mindset is to go out and relax and enjoy it,” said Volstad, who was acquired by the Cubs this winter in the deal that sent Carlos Zambrano to the Miami Marlins. “Have some fun and get back to playing the game and focus on trying to help the team win a game. That’s the only thing you can do.”