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Thursday, March 18, 2010
Dempster solid despite Ramirez homer

By Bruce Levine

A Manny Ramirez home run was not about to ruin Ryan Dempster ’s day as the Chicago Cubs starter threw 70 pitches over four innings of work against the Los Angeles Dodgers on Thursday.
Ryan Dempster pitched four innings on Thursday, only giving up a home run to Manny Ramirez in the first inning.

“Good day, felt good, made some pitches to get out of a jam in the second. I threw the ball where I wanted to, other than the one walk,” Dempster said.

As for the two-run home run surrendered to Ramirez in the first inning?

“ He did what he’s supposed to do with a middle-in fastball,” Dempster said. “It was cool, it was fun, good for him. He’s hit a few before.”

Dempster should get three more spring training starts before facing the Braves April 7 in Atlanta. The Cubs starter was asked about his goals for the last two and a half weeks of spring training.

“Just work on getting my pitch count up,” Dempster said. “I think that’s what you want to do so you’re comfortable when you get to that tiring stage -- when you get up near 100 pitches. I feel good. I feel ready for the season to start whenever.”

Dempster, like many veteran players who have been through the baseball wars before, doesn’t worry much about spring training numbers.

“I think too much is made of spring training statistics and too much about what goes on in spring training,” Dempster said. “I think when you get to the last ten days of spring training, how you’re throwing the ball, how the ball’s coming out of your hand, how the guys are hitting the ball and how their body looks and feels -- those are the most important things -- more important than any stats.”