Chat with Bruce Levine, Doug Padilla
Welcome to ESPNChicago.com! Baseball beat reporters Bruce Levine and Doug Padilla stop by Tuesday to chat.
Levine has covered sports in Chicago for over 28 years and hosts "Talkin' Baseball," heard Saturday mornings on ESPN 1000. Padilla covers the White Sox for ESPNChicago.com and ESPN 1000.
Send your questions now and join the chat Thursday at noon CT/1 p.m. ET!
Bruce Levine (1:02 PM)
Welcome from the beautiful new Talking Stick Ballpark which houses the Rockies and D-Backs. The Cubs play the Rockies today and the Sox are at home. Doug and I will be here for you the next hour. Welcome ...
Adam (Chicago) [via mobile]
Hi Bruce - aside from playing some 1B, haven't heard much about Tyler Colvin. How is his progress with the bat, more importantly, cutting down on his alarming K rate.
Bruce Levine (1:03 PM)
He has hit pretty well. He had one three-hit game. His next outing at first will be Thursday. So far both he and the Cubs are pleased with his progress there. Getting Colvin at-bats will still be Quade's quandry.
Elliott Borchardt (Naperville)
Do you think Carlos Silva will get a spot in the rotation now that he is giving up so many runs?
Bruce Levine (1:04 PM)
It's still too early to tell, Quade said Monday. He won't make any decisions on the rotation before March 20-26. That gives us a couple weeks to worry about it.
Hey Bruce- When do you see Brett Jackson breaking into bigs? Could he be an answer at leadoff?
Bruce Levine (1:05 PM)
Yes, he could be a lead-off man. He could be in the big leagues anytime probably after May or June. He still needs some playing time in Double-A and Triple-A.
If Silva doesn't make the rotation, do you think that the cubs will be forced to cut him and eat his salary?
Bruce Levine (1:06 PM)
Most likely. He doesn't look like a viable bullpen type. But cutting $12 million is never an easything for a team. Getting him better and maybe trading him might be their goal.
Adam (Madison, WI)
Any thoughts on the lack of at-bats for Perez and Ojeda? Since they are both in competition for roster spots, I thought that they would have gotten more at-bats. Bryan LaHair has 4 more ABs than both of them combined. Is the competition over?
Bruce Levine (1:08 PM)
It's not a competition where Quade has to make sure they have a lot of at-bats. It's competition when they get out on the field that they perform. For instance, Perez getting on base in the ninth inning Monday, stealing a base, tagging up on a fly ball and then scoring the winning run. That's his role. That's the way he would make the team. Same with Ojeda. When he gets at-bats or comes in for defense he just needs to do what's expected of him.
Does Reed Johnson have anything left? Or who do you see grabbing the last OF spot?
Bruce Levine (1:09 PM)
Between him and Perez. It appears that he can still play but it depends on what the Cubs want, a speed player like Perez or a veteran with a strong clubhouse presence like Johnson.
What's the status of Caridad? I saw him pitch on Sunday and looked ok. I know he was in Lou's doghouse but is there any chance we could see him back at Wrigley at some point this season?
Bruce Levine (1:10 PM)
He has pitched well so far. There is still an open competition in the bullpen for at least a couple spots.
How does Pena look so far? I saw the other day he only has a couple of hits so far this spring. Is this something we should start to worry about given his avg last year?
Bruce Levine (1:11 PM)
It's something you should pay attention to. I certainly am. But nothing to be concerned about on March 8. Pena is still getting his swing back together with Jaramillo. So far he hasn't made hard contact in games.
Bruce - Zambrano complained of a fatigued arm after his last start. Why did the Cubs start him on 3 days rest? This is spring training, not October baseball!!
Bruce Levine (1:12 PM)
That's a fair question. This time he has four days rest and we'll see the result. Come to ESPNChicago first and I'll tell you how his arm held up in his outing this afternoon.
Has Q said anything if he is going with the 12 pitchers when he breaks camp? If so I see Marmol, Wood, Marshall, Grabow, Samardzija, Wellemyer, and Maine....any thoughts?
Bruce Levine (1:13 PM)
You will have a seven-man bullpen. I agree with Marmol, Marshall, Wood, Grabow, Samardzija. The two other spots are up for grabs depending on whether Cashner and Russell make the rotation.
Gabe Hauari (Richmond, VA)
Hey Bruce, love the chat. Can I please get an update on Hayden Simpson? Also, who do you see the Cubs taking at #9 in the draft?
Bruce Levine (1:14 PM)
Minor league camp opens March 19. He's expected to be there.
Mike Gillespie (San Diego, CA)
Are the Cubs and Phillies still discussing a trade and that would send Kosuke Fukodome to the Phillies for Joe Blanton? Also, is there a possibility we could package Carlos Silva with a prospect or two to the Rangers or Pirates?
Bruce Levine (1:16 PM)
As far as I know that conversation for Fukudome for Blanton never existed. The Phillies are looking for right-handed hitting. There will be a trade market for Silva if he pitches better and the Cubs eat some of the $12 million that he is owed.
Who has been the biggest surprise at Cubs camp this spring?
Bruce Levine (1:17 PM)
Probably Soriano the way he is driving the ball to right field. Also the way he went into the gap to his left to catch a ball on Monday was somewhat shocking. His legs appear to be a lot stronger.
Any chance someone claims Jeff Samardzija if the cubs send him to AAA?
Bruce Levine (1:19 PM)
Let me correct a mistake from last week: Samardzija has a no-trade clause, and that means the Cubs cannot put him on waivers without his permission. So he either makes the team or they pay him his entire salary and release him. That's $3.5 million so you can assume he will start the season in the bullpen.
Eric T. (Oak Lawn)
I watched dj lameitheu hit the walk off the other day and i was wondering if vitters falters do you think he could be the future at 3rd base?
Bruce Levine (1:20 PM)
Right now he is a second baseman but he could move. The Cubs project him as a major league second baseman. Not a star but a competetent everyday player.
Hey Bruce after watching the game on tv on Sunday Quade mentioned he will handle most of the responsibilities the bench coach usually does. Is this a good thing or bad for the club?
Bruce Levine (1:21 PM)
I wasn't at that game so I have to get him to verify that. It doesn't sound like he would need a bench coach if that was the case. Earlier in the spring he said he would talk with Pat Listach quite a bit during games.
Eric T. (Oak Lawn)
How has braden looper looked so far and do you think he has a realistic chance at the rotation?
Bruce Levine (1:22 PM)
Check with me after today's game. He will follow Zambrano. He looked OK his last time out. It looks like the rotation or bust for Looper. He doesn't seem to have much interest in a bullpen spot.
Bruce! Here's your bi-weekly Vitters question: Did we waste the #3 overall pick on a DH?
Bruce Levine (1:23 PM)
That's a fair question. Defensively he still has a ways to go but that could be solved by eventually trading him to an AL team. If he can hit he has value.
Mike C (Loop)
Keep hearing that Grabow is a lock for a bullpen spot. With the money he's making I agree he but why hasn't he seen more spring innings?
Bruce Levine (1:23 PM)
Good question. He has only pitched once. I think they are taking it easy on that surgically repaired knee. But in my talks with him he says he is fine and progressing well. No sense in pushing it the first week of spring games.
Matt (Des Moines, IA)
Although it is a small sample size, can we expect big things from the Cubs bats this year after what we have seen in spring training thus far? How much of the praise should be directed at Jaramillo?
Bruce Levine (1:25 PM)
Spring training is not about praise or calculating batting averages. It's about getting valuable work done and getting ready for the regular season. It appears the Cubs are accomplishing that so far. The numbers are inflated because of the thin air and high skies.
How bad has Silva really been, do you look for him to still hold down the #5 slot in the rotation?
Bruce Levine (1:27 PM)
I don't think his first two innings were awful. He got out of a couple jams but his location with his pitches are off. He is leaving his fastball and changeup up. Better command is what he needs. The changeup was the pitch that was hit the most Monday.
Bobby B (Newport Beach, CA)
Hey Bruce, I love the patch work team for 2011 and cant wait to get these contracts off the books...What do you see the Cubs doing at 2nd and give me your chances on ramirez starting @ 3rd in 2012?
Bruce Levine (1:29 PM)
That's a mutual option for the Cubs and Ramirez. I think if he has a big year they pick it up. Then Ramirez has to decided whether $16 million is enough for one year. Keep in mind you are going to have to start giving big contracts to other people once players like this leave. Hopefully your young players will fill the gaps.
Who do you think will get the last two spots in the rotation? Any chance Wellemeyer will be long reliever?
Bruce Levine (1:29 PM)
Wellemeyer could be. He has done it before. He has shown versatility. There are scouts that would be interested in him if he doesn't find a spot with the Cubs.
Bruce Levine (1:30 PM)
We'll be watching Zambrano and Looper pitch against the Rockies. Zambrano might be the first one stretched out beyond four innings. Check in with my teammate Doug Padilla for White Sox talk the 30 minutes.
ESPNChicago (1:33 PM)
Doug will be along shortly after he goes on the air to talk with "Waddle & Silvy." Keep your questions coming and he'll be here soon.
Doug Padilla (1:47 PM)
Sorry for the delay. Just covered Muhammad Ali's visit to the clubhouse and went on the radio for three quick questions. Let's begin.
Has Cooper worked with Peavys mechanics to help him from taking pressure off his shoulder and lat? If you look at his mechanics from 07' and 10' they are completely off.
Doug Padilla (1:50 PM)
Mechanical changes aren't being done to protect Peavy's lat. Instead, the White Sox want Peavy to go back to the mechanics he had in San Diego. He had gotten away from that in recent years. Cooper working on getting that form back.
Will Peavy be ready for the start of the season? If he isn't, who is shaping up to get his early season starts?
Doug Padilla (1:52 PM)
While Peavy is ahead of schedule in his recovery and is trying his best to get back for the fifth spot on April 10, expect the White Sox to take it slow. April 20 or May 1 seems more likely, which isn't bad considering where he was toward the end of last season and all the uncertainty surrounding this type of surgery.
How much will financial considerations play into the Sox's closer decision. Does Thorton's contract extension have any bearing on this decision?
Doug Padilla (1:53 PM)
So far the Sox are saying that Thornton's new contract has nothing to do with who closes. But if they can get him into that role for the bulk of his new contract and he has success, it would bea good deal for the team.
Who has a better shot? De Aza, Lillibridge or Lastings?
Doug Padilla (1:56 PM)
A week ago I would have said Milledge, but none of the three have stepped up to this point to grab a wide open backup OF role, which is really a backup CF role. Lillibridge helped himself with a bases-clearing hit yesterday. Not saying they're playing tight, but nobody has stepped up yet.
Who has stood out in spring training?
Doug Padilla (1:57 PM)
Dayan Viciedo has looked pretty good in the OF and has taken good at-bats. RHP Shane Lindsay has only made one appearance but pitching coach Don Cooper likes how he looks and he could grab a bullpen spot.
Brian (Buffalo Grove)
Closer role: Thorton or Sale?
Doug Padilla (2:00 PM)
If it had to be decided today it's Thornton. If they open the season with a closer-by-committee situation, which it still could be, Sale might have more time to grab that role. But he's still 21 so they are hesitatant to put too much on Sale too soon.
Are we going to see more bunting, steals, double steals, hit and runs this year? Always hear about Ozzie Ball. Havent seen it since '05.
Doug Padilla (2:01 PM)
Last season's club was more of an Ozzie-type team. With Dunn added to the heart of the order they might play it a little safer so they don't get themselves thrown out on the bases, but Ozzie is still stressing an aggressive attitude when it comes to running.
Who's your pick for opening day starter? I'm think Buerhle.
Doug Padilla (2:02 PM)
The White Sox have already named Buehrle as their Opening Day guy April 1 at Cleveland.
Jim (NW Indiana)
Has Morel officially won the 3B job and how does he look either way?
Doug Padilla (2:05 PM)
It's not official, but it's only a matter of time. Look for Dallas McPherson to start getting more time at 3B behind Morel. He hasn't looked bad so far. Teahen has struggled with throws and his chances of being the starter are gone now, not that anybody has admitted it yet.
Lola Rose (Bridgeport)
Should we be worried about the Sox lackluster spring so far?
Doug Padilla (2:07 PM)
Spring is supposed to be a stress-free time to get ready for the season, but Ozzie isn't looking at it that way any longer. He wants some better play starting today or some heads will roll. But losing records in the spring aren't always a death sentence. Texas was horrible last year and ended up in the World Series.
Doug, don't you think that pitching a guy like Buehrle is a bad idea on a cold day in Cleveland? I mean, a guy who can throw over 85 mph would make it tougher - Buehrles isn't going to sting anyones hands.
Doug Padilla (2:08 PM)
The Opening Day start is an honor and Buehrle has done nothing to get it taken away. It's more ceremonial than anything. Some people consider it an overrated honor. Buehrle would have pitched one of the three in Cleveland anyway.
Dave (VA Beach)
besides Danks..ho's pitching today? Really enjoying seeing the games on whitesox.com...
Doug Padilla (2:10 PM)
Following Danks will be Brian Bruney, Kyle Bellamy, Matt Thornton and Anthony Carter.
Any rookies that wont make the team having a standout spring? Who are our future White Sox stars?
Doug Padilla (2:12 PM)
Jordan Danks has looked good on offense and defensively in the OF. Wouldn't be surprised to seehim get called up at some point this season. IF Eduardo Escobar is getting a good look this spring too.
What have we seen out of Alexei Ramirez so far? Can he repeat his silver slugger performance?
Doug Padilla (2:14 PM)
A three-hit game in Tucson yesterday, two of which were HRs is a sign that there certainly should be more Silver Sluggers in his future. Gold Gloves too.
Opening day starter is all well and good but who's pitching game 2? It's my understanding that's who we'll see at the home opener.
Doug Padilla (2:17 PM)
Jackson is lined up for Game 2 for now, which also lines him up for the home opener. But if Peavy makes the Opening Day roster, he could pitch April 6 and Buehrle could end up with the home opener too. If Peavy isn't ready for the 6th, he would pitch the 10th or the 20th or even later.
I really liked the player profiles that Greenburg did for the Bulls before the season stated. Any chance you can do the same for the Sox? I know its a lot of players, but you cant have much more to do in AZ except watch games and dodge rattlesnakes.
Doug Padilla (2:18 PM)
You'd be surprised Alan.
Doug Padilla (2:18 PM)
On that note, I'm outta here. Time to watch some spring ball.