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Veteran Randy Wells back in Cubs' rotation, replacing injured Ryan Dempster

Tony Campana of the Cubs pinch hits and connects on a single in the sixth inning at Wrigley Field Saturday, April 21, 2012, in Chicago. | John J. Kim~Sun-Times

Randy Wells returns to the rotation today for injured Ryan Dempster, hoping to prove himself good enough to stay.

“I feel real good. The ball’s coming off my hand good,” he said. “I know the ERA [9.42 in three starts for Class AAA Iowa] doesn’t quite show it, but I’ve worked out some stuff.

“I’m glad to be back, although the circumstances of someone being hurt are tough. But I appreciate being back and being able to show I can pitch again at this level.”

Wells, 29, was in the rotation the last three seasons, although he missed time early last season with a sore forearm. But he failed to make the major-league cut this spring in the eyes of the team’s new staff.

“You can’t sit there and dwell on the negative. You have to find the positives,” he said. “I got some stuff straightened out. I’m hoping everything goes well.”

Wells’ experience was a factor in his recall, manager Dale Sveum said.

“He’s a veteran guy who knows how to pitch,” he said.

Wells has a 4-1 record lifetime against the Cincinnati Reds with a 3.88 ERA.

On the run

Tony Campana was the surprise roster addition Saturday when Dempster was placed on the disabled list. With Marlon Byrd having been dealt, the speedy Campana will add a missing element for the Cubs.

“That’s some of the same as last year,” Campana said. “It’s getting on base, running around and helping in the outfield. I want to help the team win as much as I can.

“I tried to play as good as I could and hope when something would happen you’re the guy they call.”

He singled in the sixth as a pinch hitter for pitcher Paul Maholm, but lost a ball in the sun in the seventh that fell for a double. He attempted a diving catch on another that also went for a double.

Campana, 25, hit .259 for the Cubs in 95 games last season, his first in the majors. He had 24 steals in 26 attempts, leading the majors with a 92.3 percent success rate. His steals were the most by a Cubs rookie since Ced Landrum’s 27 in 1991.

Worst first

The Cubs didn’t allow a first-inning run in seven consecutive games from April 11-19. But foes have scored seven runs in the first inning in the last three games, including Saturday when the Reds tallied once. The Cubs hadn’t scored in the first through their six-game losing streak before scoring one against Reds starter Mike Leake.