Dempster nearly ready; Wells in limbo

PHILADELPHIA -- Kerry Wood wasn’t the only Chicago Cubs pitcher to make progress from an injury Friday as Ryan Dempster is on track to return from the disabled list the day he is eligible.

Dempster has been out with a strained right quadriceps muscle, going on the disabled list retroactive to April 18. He is eligible to return on Thursday in the series finale against the Cincinnati Reds, which is also the final day of the current road trip.

“He’s ready,” manager Dale Sveum said. “He’s running, which was the final step with him. The bullpen and running went great. He’s ready to come back on his normal day.”

That would mean that Randy Wells looks to have one more opportunity in the rotation before the Cubs make a roster move. Wells will take on the Phillies on Saturday, six days after he worked out of all kinds of trouble to allow just two runs in five innings to the Reds.

Other than being out as a starter on the major league team for now, the Cubs have not made a decision as to what happens to Wells once Dempster returns. He could either go back to Iowa and continue starting or go to the bullpen as a long man.

“We’ll make those decisions when they come up,” Sveum said of Wells. “We haven’t gotten to that step yet.”