Dempster happy to be pitching for a contender

Dempster happy to be pitching for a contender

ARLINGTON -- It's been four years since Ryan Dempster has pitched in the postseason. He wants to get back.

Dempster has spent each of the last nine years with the Cubs, who were 19 games out of first place in the NL Central on Wednesday. Now the right-hander is playing for a Rangers team that has led the AL West every day since April 9. Dempster, who was picked by the Rangers in the third round of the 1995 Draft, will start Thursday's series finale against the Angels.

"It's kind of neat to get drafted by them when I was an 18-year-old kid and wind up pitching for them, going from fifth place to first place. That doesn't get to happen very often," Dempster said. "You're going out there trying to win a World Series. I'm looking forward to an opportunity here to do that."

In his only postseason start, Dempster gave up four runs on four hits over 4 2/3 innings, striking out two and walking seven in a 7-2 loss to the Dodgers in Game 1 of the 2008 National League Division Series. Dempster, whose 2.25 ERA this season stands as the best by any pitcher in the American League, has a good chance to return to the postseason this year.

"He's so happy to be here, and I'm equally glad to have him," manager Ron Washington said. "He'll be good support for my young pitching staff. They've been coddled. They've always had C.J. [Wilson] and Colby Lewis. Then, they had [only] Colby Lewis. Then, it was no more C.J. and no more Colby Lewis. It was just them. Now we got Dempster."