Trade uncertainty has Cubs in limbo

CHICAGO – With three days remaining before the non-waiver trade deadline, the Cubs appear to be stuck in limbo land.

They have yet to name a starter for Monday’s game against the Pittsburgh Pirates and would be forced to find a second starter for Tuesday’s game if they are finally able to deal Ryan Dempster.

The deadline has been hard on the players involved in rumors, but it has also been difficult for those expected to stick around after July 31, like the coaching staff. Manager Dale Sveum said everybody will feel much better once the clock strikes 3 p.m. CST on Tuesday.

“To get it behind us with everything that has happened, all the rumors and everything, whether they happen or not I think everybody will be glad it’s all over with,” Sveum said. “(But) it’s really not over with a lot of the time because of the waiver wire and all that. I think the main (subject of trades) will be shut down one way or another.”

At the same time, Sveum tried to downplay the difficulty in dealing with roster uncertainty.

“Like we keep saying, it’s something we have to deal with and we will deal with it after tomorrow,” Sveum said. “We’ll see what happens. We’ll have somebody here Monday or we might not need anybody. The other stuff is just what it is. Until it happens we can’t do anything about it.”

Monday’s rotation opening came about because Matt Garza is still dealing with a sore right arm after suffering a cramp during his start Saturday at St. Louis. Sveum used Thursday’s off day to push back Garza’s spot as far as he could, but now a fresh arm will be needed.

Justin Germano, who was acquired from the Red Sox last week, could be used Monday, or he could pitch Tuesday if Dempster is traded. If two starters are needed, the Cubs are expected to get somebody from Triple-A Iowa.

Casey Coleman could be a candidate to start next week. His return to the Iowa rotation last week was rough as he gave up nine runs in less than three innings, but he pitched better in his last outing, giving up three runs in 5 2/3 innings on Thursday. That would line him up perfectly to pitch Tuesday.

Left-hander Chris Rusin had been pitching well at Iowa, but he has a 7.36 ERA over his last 10 starts and gave up a combined 13 runs over his last two outings. Another possibility is veteran right-hander Rodrigo Lopez (2-5, 5.53 ERA), but he has been rocked to the tune of 18 earned runs over his last three starts. Lopez’s last outing was on Tuesday when he gave up eight earned runs.