Jacque Jones trade on-again, off-again

Paul Ladewski

Jacque Jones cast a lonely figure in front of his locker before the Cubs’ game against the Colorado Rockies on Tuesday night, when he waited for his trade to the Florida Marlins to be finalized.

Or so everyone seemed to think at the time.

Hours later, Jones was still a Cub after general manager Jim Hendry had second thoughts about the deal that would have sent the veteran outfielder and an undisclosed amount of money to the Marlins. Class A pitcher Graham Taylor was to be sent to the Cubs in return.

“We had some trade possibilities, and we worked hard on one in particular,” said Hendry, who said talks could be reopened soon. “At the end of the day, I decided that it wasn’t a good deal for us. We got close on one scenario and talked to some other clubs (Monday) about another scenario. Today, I felt that I wouldn’t be rushed into it and make a deal that wouldn’t be good for us.”

Jones is in the second year of a three-year, $16 million agreement. If the Cubs had agreed to pay more than $1 million toward what’s left on the contract, the commissioner’s office would have had to approve the trade, but Hendry said that wasn’t the reason the trade was called off.

“I’ve had some honest conversation with Jacque,” Hendry said. “He knows where I stand. I told him that I always do what’s best for the Cubs first, and I’m also cognizant of what’s good for the players. He knows that.”

In 63 games going into Tuesday’s action, Jones had only two home runs to show for 201 at-bats. He had a .234 batting average and 20 RBI. His defense also has left much to be desired.

“I don’t know,” manager Lou Piniella said when asked why Jones had fallen far short of expectations. “I wish that I had an answer. He works hard. He’s a really good kid. He wants to do well. I don’t know.”

Dempster goes on DL

Closer Ryan Dempster was placed on the 15-day disabled list because of a strained left oblique muscle. Dempster thus will not be available for the showdown against the Milwaukee Brewers this weekend.

“We tried to hold off to see if he could get better for the Milwaukee series Friday, but he said he felt (discomfort) when he jogged and didn’t see any way possible that he could (pitch) this weekend,” Hendry said. “Once he and (trainer) Mark O’Neal told me that, I felt we’d probably look at (a recovery) in the middle or late next week, which made no sense. So we made the obvious move.”

Pitcher Wade Miller was moved from the 15-day DL to the 60-day DL, and pitcher Billy Petrick replaced Dempster on the roster.

A Kankakee native and Morris High School product, Petrick had split the season between Class A Daytona and Double-A Tennessee, where he had a combined 2.57 ERA and two saves in 24 relief appearances. The right-hander was a third-round pick by the Cubs in the 2002 draft.

The promotion of Petrick means Providence Catholic grad Carmen Pignatiello was passed over. A left-hander, Pignatiello had a 2.39 ERA through his first 25 appearances at Triple-A Iowa this season.

Take it easy

One night after he blew a save opportunity for the fourth time this season, reliever Bob Howry was given the night off.

The Rockies reached Howry for three runs in a six-run ninth inning Monday.

“I won’t use Howry at all,” Piniella said before Tuesday night’s game. “In fact, last night after the ballgame, I told him to stay in the dugout, don’t even go out to the bullpen. That will take away the temptation (to use him). I’m serious. He has pitched a lot.”

Fan depreciation night

One day after yet another fan ran onto the field while the game was in progress, Piniella was at a loss for an answer to what has been a problem at Wrigley Field for years.

“(The fans) don’t belong on the field. It’s obvious,” Piniella said. “But I got enough problems managing a baseball team without worrying about what fans do or don’t do. It’s dangerous when they do come out there. It shouldn’t happen.”

Wood on hold

Pitcher Kerry Wood had been scheduled for a bullpen session prior to the game, but it was postponed because of a flood at his north Chicago home.

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