Yankees, Rangers join the Dodgers in the Ryan Dempster hunt

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UPDATE: Jayson Stark reports that the Yankees are telling everyone they’re not involved in the Dempster stuff. Good things team officials have never lied about anything ever. Of course, it’s in the Cubs’ interest to make it seem like there are more teams interested in him than just the Dodgers. So, you know, trade deadline.

9:54 AM: For a week now it has seemed as though the Dodgers were the only game in town for the Cubs if they wanted to deal Ryan Dempster. Dave Kaplan of CSNChicago.com reports, however, that there are three teams in play:

Baseball sources have confirmed to me that three teams are in play for Ryan Dempster and he will approve a deal to any of the three teams if the Cubs can agree on a suitable return in exchange for the veteran right-hander who is enjoying one of the best seasons of his career. The Los Angeles Dodgers, who have long been Dempster’s preferred destination will have to increase their offer as the Texas Rangers and New York Yankees have stepped up their pursuit over the last 48 hours.

Further: a source tells Kaplan that, contrary to earlier reports, Dempster has not told the Cubs that he’d only accept trades to the Dodgers.  Rather, he would consider trades elsewhere but he wants time to consider them. That was the problem with the Braves deal, Kaplan is told.

Of course time is not on his side today. As this post goes live, there are six hours until the deadline.

Brandon Morrow injured his back taking off his pants

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The Cubs’ bullpen got into trouble in the ninth inning on Tuesday afternoon during the first game of a doubleheader. Justin Wilson started the inning with the Cubs leading 3-2, normally a situation for closer Brandon Morrow. Wilson issued a leadoff walk to Austin Barnes, then gave up a single to Justin Turner. Morrow wasn’t warming up, curiously. Wilson ended up giving up a go-ahead two-run double to pinch-hitter Kyle Farmer and the Cubs went on to lose 4-3.

We now know why Morrow wasn’t available. He says his back tightened up taking off his pants early Monday morning, MLB.com’s Carrie Muskat reports. Morrow said, “It’s frustrating any time you can’t get out there, especially when you can’t go for something as stupid as taking your pants off.”

Morrow, 33, has been terrific in the closer’s role this season for the Cubs. He owns a 1.59 ERA with a 25/9 K/BB ratio in 22 2/3 innings. He is also not available for the back end of Tuesday’s doubleheader, but it sounds like he won’t need to go on the disabled list.