Dempster to throw off mound Saturday

CHICAGO -- Chicago Cubs starting pitcher Ryan Dempster will throw off a mound on Saturday which will be the first time he's done that since going on the disabled list June 16 with a sore right latissimus dorsi muscle behind his right shoulder.

Dempster, who most likely will be traded to a contender before the July 31 trading deadline, will not be ready to return to the rotation on Sunday when he is eligible to come off the DL.

Dempster will probably not have to go on a rehab start to the minor leagues, opting to have one or two simulated outings against live hitting. The pitcher was not sure if he could be back on the active list before the All-Star break, which begins July 9.

The 35-year-old Dempster, who has been one of the most effective pitchers in the National League this season, met with team president Theo Epstein two weeks ago and agreed to work with the team on a deal that would be mutually acceptable to both sides. Dempster is in the final year of a $44 million contract. He also can block any trade because he's been in the majors 10 years and at least five with the same team.