"We were healthy for a day," Piniella said Tuesday. "Actually, Dempster's sick about this, and so am I. It's something you never expect to happen. Just a freak thing."
The Cubs put Dempster on the 15-day disabled list, and it's likely he's out three weeks to a month with a non-displaced fracture.
Dempster said he suffered the injury Sunday, when he tried to hop over the dugout railing to celebrate a victory over Milwaukee. Apparently, his left foot caught in the railing, and his momentum caused him to slam his right big toe to the ground.
"When I did it, I thought I just ripped my nail back from my foot," he said. "Unfortunately, the result wasn't very funny."
Dempster, 32, is 5-5 with a 4.09 ERA in 17 starts. He took over as staff ace late last year on the way to a 17-win season.
The Cubs recalled right-hander Kevin Hart from Class AAA Iowa to start Wednesday, and they had Carlos Zambrano pitching on three days' rest Tuesday to fill Dempster's slot.
On Monday, the Cubs got third baseman Aramis Ramirez, outfielder Reed Johnson and reliever Angel Guzman back from the DL, and they felt with good health, they'd be ready to roll.
BRAVES 2, CUBS 1: The Cubs managed seven hits, one of them for extra bases, against Javier Vazquez. Zambrano worked six innings for the Cubs, giving up five hits and two runs.
--LF Alfonso Soriano on Tuesday extended a modest hitting streak to three games (5-for-12). He has been batting sixth for the past four games. Soriano has gone a full month without hitting a home run, and his slugging percentage is .414.
--Guzman saw his first action Tuesday since coming off the disabled list the previous day. He worked a scoreless inning and has held opponents scoreless in 14 of his last 16 outings. Guzman's ERA is 2.45. He had been battling a strained right triceps.
--RHP Randy Wells won his fourth straight decision Monday, becoming the first Cubs rookie to win four straight starts since Kerry Wood in 1998. Wells is 4-3 with a 2.48 ERA. He has nine of the Cubs' 52 quality starts.
--Hart, recalled from Class AAA Iowa, was up with the Cubs from June 21 until Monday, when the team made a series of roster moves. Hart had no record and a 1.59 ERA in four relief appearances. At the time of his call-up, he had been working in Iowa's rotation. Piniella said it was likely Hart would stay in the rotation, depending on how he pitches.
--Zambrano, who started Tuesday's game, will work the night portion of Sunday's day-night doubleheader against the Cardinals. Zambrano had been scheduled to work Wednesday, but he was pushed up to Tuesday because of the broken right big toe suffered by Dempster. Zambrano's record fell to 4-4 Tuesday, and he hasn't won since June 5.
--Ramirez, who missed two months because of a dislocated left shoulder, picked up his first hits since May 7, with two singles Tuesday. Ramirez is 2-for-8 in two games since coming off the disabled list.
--The Sports XChange
NEW ORLEANS 4, IOWA 1 (CLASS AAA)
At New Orleans, So Taguchi’s leadoff home run on the first pitch of the game was the only Cubs (44-41) offense in the loss Tuesday. Iowa collected eight hits. LHP Casey Fossum (1-1) started and allowed four runs and six hits in five innings. He struck out seven batters without allowing a walk. Iowa used three pitchers in relief. RHPs Justin Berg, Greg Reinhard and Blake Parker each tossed one scoreless inning.
CAROLINA 6, TENNESSEE 0 (CLASS AA)
At Zebulon, N.C., the Smokies (40-46 overall, 8-8 second half) were held to seven hits in the loss Tuesday. LF Ty Wright (2-for-3, walk) and 2B Tony Thomas (2-for-4) led the team with two hits apiece. Wright has hit safely in 10 of his last 12 games and is batting .288 through 79 games this season. RHP Jay Jackson (4-4) started and suffered his first loss since April 24. He allowed four runs on three hits and four walks in 5 1/3 innings.
DUNEDIN 5, DAYTONA 1 (CLASS HIGH-A)
At Daytona Beach, the Cubs (40-40, 6-7) were held to three hits in the loss Tuesday. CF Tony Campana (2-for-3, walk) paced the offense by reaching base three times. He stole his 38th base this season and is 10-for-28 through seven games in July. RHP Chris Carpenter (0-1) started and suffered the loss, allowing five runs (three earned) and five hits in four innings. He struck out eight and walked four.
PEORIA 7, BELOIT 3 (CLASS-A)
At Peoria, the Chiefs (43-38, 5-7) collected 13 hits in the victory Tuesday. 3B David Macias (3-for-4) led the offense with his second three-hit game this season. SS Ryan Flaherty (2-for-4) hit his 14th double and drove in two runs. 2B Junior Lake (2-for-3) added two hits, including his 13th double. RHP Chris Archer started and received a no-decision, allowing one run and four hits in 4 1/3 innings. He struck out five and walked four. RHP Alberto Cabrera (5-2) got the win in relief. He allowed two runs and five hits in 4 1/3 innings.
EUGENE 6, BOISE 0 (CLASS LOW-A)
At Boise, the Hawks (5-13) were held to four hits in the shutout loss Tuesday. Cubs 2009 first-round draft pick Brett Jackson (1-for-4) singled and has hit safely in all seven games he has played in since making his professional debut in the Arizona Rookie League on July 1. SS Hak-Ju Lee (1-for-4) singled and has hit safely in 14 of 17 games this season. RF Jae-Hoon Ha (0-for-3) was hitless to snap a seven-game hit streak. RHP Tarlandas Mitchell started and received a no-decision, tossing 3 2/3 scoreless innings without allowing a hit. He walked four batters and struck out three. RHP Joe Simokaitis (0-1) suffered the loss in relief, allowing two runs and three hits in 1 1/3 innings.
CUBS 10, BREWERS 7 (ARIZONA ROOKIE LEAGUE)
At Mesa, the Cubs (8-6) collected 10 hits in the victory Tuesday. DH Richard Jones (2-for-5), the Cubs’ 2009 ninth-round draft pick from The Citadel, hit his fourth home run in six games. He has hit safely in all six games he has played in, going 10-for-25 with 10 RBI. SS Robert Bautista (2-for-5, triple, RBI), 3B Charles Thomas (2-for-4, double, walk), and RF Kevin Soto (2-for-3, double, RBI) all collected two hits. RHP Eduardo Figueroa (2-0) got the win, allowing two runs and three hits in 3 1/3 innings.