Cubs veterans see team going younger

The writing is clearly on the wall and veteran players can see that Chicago Cubs teams of the near future will be younger and less expensive to field than those of recent vintage.

As of Saturday the team had moved Marlon Byrd's contract ($6.5 million ) to the Boston Red Sox and have $17 million worth of players on the disabled list with Ryan Dempster and Kerry Wood both rehabbing injuries.

Dempster, who is in the last year of a long-term contract, hopes to be back on the mound the first week of May after rehabbing a strained right quad muscle.

“We have a little bit of a road ahead of us so we need to worry about winning some series,” Dempster said when asked about the obvious transition from old to young. “The best thing you can do is do your job the best you can and if everybody does that collectively as a group, you get better results as a team.”

Dempster and Wood, along with other veteran Cub players, can be sure that at some point during the 2012 season the front office will be fielding calls about their availability. Dempster will miss Byrd, who had joined the Cubs as a free agent before the 2010 season.

“Marlon was a pro’s pro,” Dempster said. “He came every day and played as hard as he could. He was as prepared as anybody and we will miss that around here.”

For now Dempster will get treatment and he hopes to get back to throwing next weekend. On Sunday he said that he incurred the injury in his bullpen session two days after his last start.

“When it happened I thought it would be a few days,” Dempster said. “But now I can have the assurance of not having to rush back and doing something where I miss more time.”

The Cubs recalled pitcher Randy Wells from Iowa to start in Dempster’s place on Sunday. Dempster was placed on the DL retroactive to April 18.