The Chicago Cubs won't get their starting rotation back whole until after the All-Star break.
No. 1 starter Ryan Dempster, on the disabled list with a sore right lat muscle, played catch Friday and will see how he feels over the weekend before he throws off a mound.
Dempster went on the DL on June 18, retroactive to June 16, but the Cubs won't rush him back.
"The earliest, obviously, would be sometime right after the All-Star break," said manager Dale Sveum. "We're still going to make sure everything's good and he's built up to whatever he can tolerate. Nothing earlier than that."
Right-hander Randy Wells had been filling Dempster's spot, but the Cubs designated him for assignment earlier in the week, so they'll need someone to start Tuesday in Atlanta.
Sveum said it appears to come down to one of two choices: right-hander Casey Coleman out of the Cubs' bullpen or right-hander Chris Volstad at Class AAA (Des Moines) Iowa.
Tuesday would be Volstad's turn to pitch, and he turned in seven solid innings Thursday in a loss for Iowa.
As for Dempster, he insists he is pain-free but says he won't know how he feels until he throws earnestly.
"It won't take me long once I get going," he said. "I haven't said, 'This date' (is when he'll be back) because if I feel good, it could be sooner than that. I'm completely pain free. I just don't know how I'm going to feel throwing."