Dempster anticipates World Series for Cubs

By The Associated Press

MESA, Ariz. – Ryan Dempster plans to move from closer to starter for the Chicago Cubs this season and on the first day of spring training he took on another role: prognosticator.

“I think we are going to win the World Series. I really do,” Dempster said.

Now that’s a bold prediction before the start of a season that marks the 100th anniversary of the Cubs’ last World Series winner.

“Funny when people make predictions or they say things and people are like, ‘How could you say that?”‘ Dempster said Wednesday as pitchers and catchers reported to camp.

The Cubs did make it to the postseason last season after a slow start, winning the NL Central before being swept in three games by the Arizona Diamondbacks in the first round.

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    A year ago in spring training, it was Carlos Zambrano guaranteeing the Cubs would win the World Series.

    Dempster didn’t quite go that far, but he’s convinced the century-long drought will end.

    “I wouldn’t show up here and work as hard as I did and everybody work as hard as they did to not believe that,” he added.

    Reminded that Zambrano’s prediction fell short, Dempster didn’t back down.

    “It’s been 100 years, I think I’m all right saying that you know,” he added.

    Manager Lou Piniella didn’t seem fazed by Dempster’s prediction before the season even gets under way. The Cubs added outfielder Kosuke Fukudome and veteran right-hander Jon Lieber in the offseason and have been trying to make a trade for Orioles’ second baseman Brian Roberts.

    Notes: Piniella said the Cubs will probably settle on a closer about three-quarters of the way through spring training. Bob Howry, Carlos Marmol and Kerry Wood are the top candidates and there is an outside chance Dempster could move back. The only other real question marks: Who will play center field with Felix Pie and Sam Fuld in the running?