Ryan Dempster hospitalized, scratched from start

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CSNChicago’s Patrick Mooney reports that Ryan Dempster was hospitalized on Saturday and stayed overnight undergoing tests and taking IV fluids.  Although he was released Sunday, he’s been scratched from his next scheduled start.

The Cubs will call up Casey Coleman to take his spot Monday against the Nationals.

Besides fighting a stomach virus, Dempster has also been troubled by soreness in his hip and back.  He’ll lose one start prior to the All-Star break as a result of the maladies, but the plan is for him to return sometime this week, perhaps as soon as Wednesday.

The Nationals have to be pleased by the turn of events.  Coleman has a 7.32 ERA in his eight starts in the majors this season.  The Cubs were already planning on promoting Ramon Ortiz to start in place of the injured Carlos Zambrano on Tuesday.  It will be the season debut for Ortiz, who had a 6.30 ERA in two starts and 14 relief appearances for the Dodgers last season.

Mets sign Jose Lobaton to minor league deal

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The Mets signed catcher Jose Lobaton to a minor league contract, the team announced Friday. The deal includes an invitation to spring training, where it’s assumed Lobaton will be in the mix for a backup role behind Travis d'Arnaud and Kevin Plawecki.

Lobaton, 33, is coming off of a four-year stint with the Nationals. He put up his worst career numbers in 2017, producing -0.6 fWAR after slashing just .170/.248/.277 with four home runs in 158 plate appearances. While he’ll give the Mets little to work with at the plate, his near-decade of experience behind the dish should make him a decent emergency option, if nothing else.

In the meantime, the Mets are expected to roll with a d’Arnaud/Plawecki platoon to start the season. Both catchers saw slight upticks in value over the 2017 season: d’Arnaud turned in 0.8 fWAR after hitting a career-high 16 home runs, while Plawecki collected 0.6 fWAR and three homers after raising his batting line over the Mendoza Line for the first time since 2015.