According to multiple reports, Mike Quade named Ryan Dempster his starter for Opening Day. Quade met with his three top starters in office (Dempster, Carlos Zambrano and Matt Garza) on Monday morning and told them his decision.
Carlos Zambrano and Matt Garza will follow Dempster in the rotation to start the season.
Quade also announced that Carlos Zambrano and Matt Garza would pitch in the Cactus League opener Sunday against the Oakland A’s. Ryan Dempster being named Opening Day starter ends a streak of six straight opening days that Zambrano got the ball. The last starter to take the ball other than Zambrano was Kerry Wood in 2004.
Dempster appreciated Zambrano’s reaction to Quade’s decision. Zambrano told Dempster he was happy for him and told Dempster that he deserved the honor.
The decision to give Dempster the ball on Opening Day means that Carlos Zambrano will pitch the first game of the series against the Brewers that begins on April 8 in Milwaukee.
April 1 against the Pirates will be the third time in Ryan Dempster’s career he’s started on Opening Day.