CHICAGO -- Ryan Dempster’s shadow was still in full view at Wrigley Field on Tuesday night just seven hours after the popular Cub was traded to Texas for two prospects.
After the news of his move to the AL came out, Dempster briefly meet with Chicago media members. When asked how he would have pitched if he had not been traded, he deadpanned: “I think I would have thrown a no-hitter tonight.”
As Dempster made his way to the airport to join his new club, Pittsburgh starter A.J. Burnett picked up the joke where Dempster left off, no-hitting the Cubs through 7 2/3 innings. Pinch-hitter Adrian Cardenas line-drive single broke it up as the Pirates pitcher settled for a complete game one hit shutout.
“I faced him before; I won’t forget that game,” Cardenas said. “It’s the game I made two errors at third base. A.J. Burnett pitched that game. But I remembered him and I remembered how he was pitching throughout the game.”
Cardenas remembers his first game facing Burnett for another reason as well. He recalled how the departed Dempster, the losing pitcher due the aforementioned errors, treated him that night.
“I wish I was able to say goodbye to Dempster,” Cardenas said. “He was one of the best teammates I ever played with. He actually pitched the game I made two errors in and I remember him encouraging me after I made a good play after the error where anybody could have shown me up, especially somebody like him with his years and he never ever did that. I just respected me from Day 1. He was just a great person.”
The void with four veterans having been traded in 24 hours was obvious in the locker room after the 5-0 loss.
“Demp was a consistent person on the field and in the clubhouse “ said Casey Coleman, who took the loss filling in for Dempster on Tuesday. “If he had a good game or bad game, he was the same. He was always positive and always there with a joke or a kind word. That is the type of person you want to model yourself after.”