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Dempster will rebound with easy slate

Philadelphia, PA (Sports Network) - It seems every time I want to write about Ryan Dempster, the narrative changes.

The day I planned on detailing the best trade destinations for the former Cubs right-hander the team announced he was hitting the DL with a lat injury. Now, he has left the team and had his latest start pushed to Monday due to unidentified "personal reasons."

Luckily, that doesn't change my opinion of the Rangers starter for the rest of the season.

I was unfortunate enough to acquire Dempster via trade in one of my fantasy leagues prior to the trade deadline. It's safe to say I wouldn't have pursued him as a trade target if I didn't expect him to end up with a National League contender rather than in the soul-draining heat of Texas. After watching the American League rudely greet Dempster in his first three starts with the Rangers, you can't blame me for looking for a reason to be optimistic about owning him.

I think I found one.

Dempster was essentially baptized into the AL by fire, as he had to face three pitcher-killing lineups in his first three turns in the Junior Circuit. After pitching against NL cupcakes for his entire career, Dempster took the mound against the AL's second, third and fifth highest scoring offenses in his first three starts. And while he floundered against the Angels and Yankees -- 16 earned runs in 10 2/3 innings -- the right-hander didn't allow an earned run in a victory over Boston at Fenway Park.

Looking forward, Dempster's schedule couldn't get much easier the rest of the season if he was still toeing the rubber for the woeful Cubs.

Dempster will start Monday against the Orioles, and if he starts on regular rest for the remainder of the season this is what his schedule will look like:

Baltimore Orioles - 10th in the American League in runs scored, 11th in batting average.

Minnesota Twins - 8th in the AL in runs scored, 7th in batting average.

Cleveland Indians (twice) - 9th in the AL in runs scored, 9th in batting average.

Kansas City Royals - 12th in the AL in runs scored, 6th in batting average.

Seattle Mariners (twice) - Last in the AL in runs scored, 13th in batting average.

Oakland Athletics - 13th in the AL in runs scored, last in batting average.

That's eight starts, all against some of the worst offensive clubs in the league. With that schedule ahead of him, I think Dempster is about to find out that the American League really isn't so bad after all.

Comments? Criticism? Applause? Contact Thomas J. Harrigan at tharrigan@sportsnetwork.com.

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