Cubs Opening Day starter Ryan Dempster had fans and coaches concerned with a putrid April performance, but the prankster has turned it around in May and is now claiming his terrible start was just another in a long series of hoaxes and practical jokes from the prankster.

“Gotcha!” said Dempster after striking out 11 in six innings during an 11-4 win over the Giants Friday afternoon. “What do you think about that one? Pretty funny, eh?”

Dempster went 1-3 with a 9.58 ERA in six April starts but has been 1-1 with a 1.93 in three starts so far this month. He said he hoped his terrible start would be his ultimate prank.

“Over the winter I got a little stir crazy and couldn’t figure how to build on my great body of practical joke work,” said Dempster, who once had the tires removed from a teammate’s SUV and hidden around the Cubs’ spring training facility. “I decided it would be hilarious to convince the Cubs that they had $26 million outstanding over two years to a guy who was completely washed up. Ha ha ha! Pretty funny, right?”

His even-keeled manager Mike Quade wasn’t quite as humored by Dempster’s antics.

“Couldn’t he have put Icy Hot in everyone’s jock strap or something?” asked Quade. “Or maybe show up to a game in Groucho Marx glasses? Anything else would have been funnier than giving up a run an inning for a month.”