CHICAGO -- It will be a special All-Star break for Carlos Zambrano, who is headed to Guatemala to finalize adoption documents so he can soon bring a 2-year-old boy to the United States.
The Cubs pitcher will fly on July 10 to Guatemala to complete the visa for the boy, also named Carlos. The Zambranos hope to have their new son in the U.S. by the end of July or early August.
Zambrano had gotten approval from the Cubs for the trip before he went on the disabled list with low back soreness.
"My daughters, my wife are really excited about this," Zambrano said on Sunday about the new addition to their family.
Zambrano, who has three daughters, first met the boy when he was 5 months old; he turned 2 in May.
"When I met him, he was in the orphanage and he didn't have a name," Zambrano said. "I liked that kid so much and I've been helping the foundation, Hope of Life, and the guy who is president of the foundation, he named the boy 'Carlos Zambrano.' He didn't know I liked that boy.
"When I told my wife at the beginning and started to talk about this," he said, "I said to her, 'If we want to adopt a kid, he has to be special, there has to be something that tells us he's the one, he's the kid.' Things happen. We found out this was the kid God had in mind for us."
His wife, Ismary, has already decorated a room in their home in blue with a wallpaper border with baseball, soccer and football stickers.
"All the rooms at my house used to be pink with girls stuff," Zambrano said, happy to have another male in the house. "We have everything set up for him.
"It's a blessing," he said.
Ailing Dempster to skip Monday's start
CHICAGO -- Ryan Dempster was scratched from Monday's scheduled start against the Nationals because of a sore back and illness, and Casey Coleman will go for the Cubs instead.
Dempster (5-6, 4.99 ERA) was hospitalized overnight on Saturday as a precaution. He is expected to make one more start before the All-Star break.
"I was sick over the last couple days, dating back to Wednesday, and stayed in the hospital [Saturday] night for some tests to make sure everything was all right," Dempster said. "As the days have gone by, I've gotten pretty locked up with my back. I've been trying to get that worked out. I feel better today.
"They filled me with fluids [Saturday]," he said. "I'll feel better in the next couple days and push the start back a few days and maybe miss one and make the next one."
Dempster said the problem is not related to a hip strain he felt on June 8 which nearly forced him to miss his start against the Reds. In his last outing on Wednesday against the Giants, he gave up one run on three hits over eight innings and threw an efficient 83 pitches.
"He's under the weather," Cubs manager Mike Quade said. "He's got a little hip and back issue. We expect him to pitch on this trip before the break, but we'll back him off several days. He had a rough day [on Saturday] and he looks better today. We're going to give him a few days and we'll see how he feels."
The Cubs open a seven-game road trip on Monday in Washington, D.C., against the Nationals and finish with a weekend series against the Pirates.
Coleman is 2-4 with a 7.78 ERA in 10 games with the Cubs, making eight starts. The right-hander made his first start of the season with the big league team even though he didn't break with the Cubs out of Spring Training. Coleman was needed to fill in for Randy Wells, who went on the disabled list after his first start April 4. He was optioned to Triple-A Iowa in May and returned when the team needed a fresh arm in early June and made one relief appearance on June 11.
Chris Carpenter, who joined the Cubs on June 14 and had appeared in eight games, was optioned to Triple-A Iowa to make room for Coleman on the roster.
Dempster was the last Cubs starter to not miss a turn because of illness or injury. So far this season, four of the starters have been on the disabled list, with Carlos Zambrano and Andrew Cashner still on the DL. Rodrigo Lopez was lifted from Sunday's start because of tightness in his hamstring, which was not believed to be serious.
Quade said Dempster most likely would've tried to go on Monday.
"He'd pitch, I'm sure, but we're not going to push it," Quade said. "This looks short term, so God bless that."
Dempster said he was hospitalized as a precaution.
"They wanted to make sure there was nothing too crazy," he said.
He was able to eat on Sunday, which he said was encouraging. The hospital stay wasn't all bad.
"Those beds are really comfy," he said. "I want to get one of those for my house."
And the hospital food was good, too, right?
"Absolutely," he said.
Dempster wasn't certain what caused the discomfort in his back and core area.
"My back just locked up on me," he said. "I don't know what it's from. I don't know if it's a combination of the illness and stuff like that. I just couldn't get loose. We didn't want to chance it for tomorrow. I took IV fluids all last night. The next couple days, if it feels a lot better, I'll make my next one."
Ortiz tunes up for Tuesday start
CHICAGO -- Cubs right-hander Ramon Ortiz threw a bullpen session on Sunday at Wrigley Field to tune up for his start this week against the Nationals.
Ortiz, 38, who was 6-3 with a 4.26 ERA in 16 starts at Triple-A Iowa, will fill in for Carlos Zambrano, who is on the disabled list with low back soreness. In Ortiz's last outing on Friday, he threw four shutout innings, giving up two hits and striking out two.
Tuesday will be Ortiz's first Major League start since May 19, 2010. The righty was 1-2 in 16 games, including two starts, for the Dodgers last year, and has pitched for the Angels, Reds, Nationals, Twins and Rockies in his career.
"We'll take a look at his Tuesday start and see where we go from there," Cubs manager Mike Quade said.
The Cubs were tempted to consider Marcos Mateo for Tuesday's start after he threw five innings on Thursday in relief, but will keep the right-hander in the bullpen.
Organization takes pride in All-Star Castro
CHICAGO -- Sunday was not only a big day for Starlin Castro but for Jose Serra and Oneri Fleita and the Cubs' academy in the Dominican Republic.
Castro, 21, became the youngest Cub to make an All-Star team, and general manager Jim Hendry praised Serra, the team's Latin American scouting coordinator, who recommended the skinny infielder from the Dominican.
"We've always felt for the last seven or eight years that we had one of the best scouts in Latin America," Hendry said of Serra. "Jose Serra in the Dominican is way more than a scout to us. He becomes [the prospects'] older brother, their trust factor, their mentor in some ways."
Serra now has two All-Stars. He also recommended Cubs closer Carlos Marmol, who was an All-Star in 2008.
Hendry also praised Fleita, the team's player development director.
"He's helped bring these people along and a lot of kids from other countries," Hendry said. "Go back to [Carlos] Zambrano, go back to Marmol, go to Castro, and they'll tell you there were a lot of times along the way that the farm director had a great influence with them off the field, which is all part of it."
Fleita smiled when asked about what it was like to hear Castro talking to a crowd of reporters in English.
"I think that's the best thing I've heard all day," Fleita said.
Coach Ivan DeJesus has acted as interpreter, but Castro is trying to take care of interviews himself.
"He speaks great English, and I'm glad to see he had the confidence to go out and express himself in our language," Fleita said of Castro. "It says a lot about his commitment not only as a player ... to be able to do everything, to conduct yourself in English."
Fleita said Castro, who is loose and usually smiling in the locker room before games, has always been that way.
"We thought he was an even-keeled kid [when the Cubs found him]," Fleita said, "but he's remained that way through everything -- the first home run in Cincinnati, followed the next day by three errors. He's kept an even keel through and through."
Carrie Muskat is a reporter for MLB.com. She writes a blog, Muskat Ramblings, and you can follow her on Twitter @CarrieMuskat. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.