Despite reports that the Los Angeles Dodgers have scaled back their interest in Cubs right-hander Ryan Dempster, they still appear to be as strong a contender for him as any other.

The Dodgers were among close to a dozen teams still in St. Louis on Saturday to scout the Cubs, with another potential trade target, Matt Garza, on the mound. Garza left after three innings because of a triceps cramp.

The Dodgers have had their eye on both pitchers and reportedly were close to a deal for Dempster before he pitched Friday night.

The Washington Nationals, whom several industry insiders expected to be among the strongest challengers to the Dodgers for Dempster, have much of their interest tied to the performance of starter John Lannan. He pitched especially well in his season debut Saturday, going seven strong innings against the Atlanta Braves. Lannan retired 18 of his final 21 batters.

Reported interest in Dempster from the St. Louis Cardinals also has been overstated. General manager John Mozeliak told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch on Saturday that he's not against trading within the division, but there's a long-term element to keep in mind.

"If you're buying and you're giving up an elite prospect, that would be tough to look at for the next seven to 10 years," Mozeliak said.

Cubs general manager Jed Hoyer, who's with the team in St. Louis, wouldn't comment on details of talks for Dempster, but he has kept a continuous dialogue with Dempster.