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April 13, 1:00 PM ET
Chat with Bruce Levine

Bruce Levine
  (1:03 PM)

Welcome to the chat. I hope all you fans are now firmly off the ledge and ready for the season to take shape on its own. Let's talk baseball.

Bruce Levine
  (1:03 PM)

Welcome to the chat. I hope all you fans are now firmly off the ledge and ready for the season to take shape on its own. Let's talk baseball.

Wade (Homewood)

The White Sox outfield defense is struggling it seems, Why doesn't ozzie DH our worst outfielder (Quentin) everyday?

Bruce Levine
  (1:06 PM)

Basically because he's not the worst. Juan Pierre is. Ozzie is still experimenting to see what works. In some ways he doesn't know any better than you or I was to what will work. The good news is he has many good choice to experiment with.

Tyler Franz (Miami, Fl)

Do you think that Lou would realistically consider benching Soriano for Colvin or Nady if he continues to struggle?

Bruce Levine
  (1:08 PM)

I don't think an outright benching is going to happe for Soriano. If you remember, Soriano's leg wasn't 100 percent better yet in spring training. What some people might call a benching might be a precautionary platoon. Let's not forget Soriano is one of the most popular players on that team as well as one of the most cooperative. This is not a simple situation for Piniella to deal with.

Rob (Chicago)

Do you think weve seen enough out of Andrew Jones to make him an everyday starter? Those two bombs yesterday were huge and hes even stolen a couple bases

Bruce Levine
  (1:09 PM)

If you've been paying attention to my blogs, it was very easy to see that Jones was on a mission to be able to show people he is a star player again. He was easily the most impressive White Sox player during spring training. This is no surprise to me. Ozzie will continue to use Kotsay. Remember the White Sox need left-handed hitting and only Teahen, Kotsay and Pierzynski hit from the left side.

Tom (Chicago)

Hey Bruce! Do you see the Cubs offense ever being able to produce runs on a consistant basis? Before yesterday, it seemed like they thought they were allowed only 1 run per inning. I know it's early, but how long until Soriano is just benched? Thanks.

Bruce Levine
  (1:11 PM)

Don't put it all on Soriano. He's a No. 6 hitter. Let's put some concentration on other guys in the lineup like Fontenot, Baker and Soto. I think the ability of Soto to hit at the bottom of the order is a big deal. Nobody wants to have 2-3 automatic outs for other teams to pitch to. Let the Soriano thing go, that's going to work out on it's own.

Jimmy P (illinois State)

was there a certain reason Rios got boo by the jay's fans so bad last night?

Bruce Levine
  (1:12 PM)

There is a YouTube video that shows Rios blowing off a little kid who asks for an autograph when he was in Toronto. These little kids are often hired by memorabilia collectors to get players to sign. According to some people, this was such a case.

Gray (Chicago)

Any chuckles in the Cubs locker room regarding Milton Bradley's tough start in Seattle?

Bruce Levine
  (1:13 PM)

I don't think anyone wants to see Bradley fail. On the other hand a couple people I talked to off the record were not surprised. As we all know, Milton was most of the time his own worst enemy in Chicago.

D.J. (Tucson AZ)

What has gotten into Carlos Silva? Has he returned to his 2005 form or is this an aberration?

Bruce Levine
  (1:14 PM)

Once in a while pride takes over for an athlete. Silva told me in spring training that he was insulted by Seattle's constant reminder of his weight. So far with the Cubs he has been treated with a lot of respect even when they did talk to him about weight. He has responded in kind.

John (Boise)

Do you think Tyler Colvin can be a consistent replacement for the cubs?

Bruce Levine
  (1:16 PM)

That's a difficult question to answer considering his playing time is going to be so erratic. Nobody on the Cubs is sure whether he is ready to be a productive major league player on an everyday basis. The outfield mix for the Cubs is peculiar to say the least. I've never heard of a manager having to make two defensive changes in his outfield during late innings. Teams really don't have the manpower for that.

Landon (Chicago)

How concerned are you about Peavy so far? After all, it's his full first season out of the NL. Will he turn it around?

Bruce Levine
  (1:17 PM)

Depending on what scouts you talk to, Peavy was going to have a difficult transition to the AL facing an extra hitter in the lineup and being a fly ball pitcher. Peavy is very competitive, and if he's healthy I wouldn't expect a failure from him all year.

Tyler (Boulder)

Bruce,Is there anything the cubs can do about the bullpen situation?

Bruce Levine
  (1:19 PM)

They have to wait at least until April 18 to be able to bring up anyone from the minors. When players are optioned to the minors, they have to stay there 10 days unless there is a disabled list situation. In the meantime Piniella needs to develp the guys he has. Russell and Samardzija had valuable innings on Monday.

Frank (Dallas)

What are your early thoughts on Byrd's season? His average seems a little low, but what are the Chicago fans thinking about his performance thus far?

Bruce Levine
  (1:20 PM)

Byrd is a hustler and great clubhouse presence. I'm pretty sure he's going to flourish in Chicago. I don't think he will hit .300 but I think we will play a solid CF and help out with run production.

Gergs (Davenport, IA)

Hi Bruce, huge fan of Talking Baseball. You see Alexi make these great plays and then struggle with the routine plays. If his defense becomes an issue, would we see him pulled for Vizqual?

Bruce Levine
  (1:22 PM)

Certainly not on a regular basis. But if Ozzie has to get his attention again like he did last year, he has a very solid alternative. Ramirez is a guy who probably should be checked for ADD. He's kind of a maddening player to watch at times because his skill level is so high and the attention span seems to vary.

Bob (Bradley, IL)

Do you see any 20 game winners in the Cubs near future and who will have the most complete games for the Cubs this year.

Bruce Levine
  (1:23 PM)

I don't know if you can go by complete games anymore. The leaders are somewhere between six and nine. I don't see any Cubs winning 20 but that isn't necessary to win a division.

Gergs (Davenport, IA)

Everyone always says Ozzie is on the hot seat... what if Teahan, Jones, Rios and Peavy all struggle, is Kenny?

Bruce Levine
  (1:24 PM)

The GM has to be responsible for the 25-man roster so I don't think you seperate the manager from the GM. The manager has to get the most out of the players and the GM is in charge of getting the players. It's a collective effort. If the Sox finish under .500 again both management people will take some heat.

ryan (st. louis)

who's spot does Lily take in the rotation? Gorzelanny and Silva have both had good outings so which one is better fit in the pen?

Bruce Levine
  (1:25 PM)

The conventional wisdom is that Silva has had more experience in the pen than Gorzelanny. I would say if all things are equal, Silva would be the one going to the bullpen.

Gergs (Davenport, IA)

Is the Ricketts family more interested in being fans or owners?

Bruce Levine
  (1:27 PM)

That's usually the dilemma for new ownership. I've seen it numerous times where the new owners are so geeked up about being owners that they have trouble taking their fan face off. In the case of the Ricketts, the want people to understand that they are fans even though they are owners. Wearing Cub hats and jerseys is probably a step too far, but their children and their families should be able to enjoy the experience.

Kid A (Chicago)

I've seen the future at closer and his name is Sergio Santos. I know he's new and that is beneficial to him that the league hasnt seen his stuff, but looking at that stuff I'm not sure that really matters. Nasty! What do you think?

Bruce Levine
  (1:29 PM)

I thought from the beginning of spring training he has a dominant fastball, dominant slider and good command. He certainly may be a diamond in the rough for the bullpen, especially if Jenks struggles for the next couple of months.

Sean G (Naperville)

Besides for the win yesterday in Toronto, the Sox have lacked offense the first week in the season. Any chance the Sox go out and get a bat via the trade or free agents?

Bruce Levine
  (1:30 PM)

Only if Adrian Gonzalez is made available before June or July. They are not going to get another bat just for the sake of getting a hitter. Let's let this thing play out a bit.

Corey (Chicago)

Bruce, what are your impressions of Soriano's response to being scared of walls and how they are dangerous? For a professional athlete to say something like that is rediculous and takes a lot of nerve coming from a guy making $17 million a year. He needs to watch footage of guys sacrificing their bodies to make plays. Go hard or ride the pine!

Bruce Levine
  (1:32 PM)

I think it was a mistake for him to say it. Nobody likes Wrigkley's walls and the bricks. The ivy on the wall is no cushion for a guy running into it. Sometimes Soriano is too honest for his own good.

Lester (Chicago)

hey bruce, is Lou leaning towards one pitcher for the 8th inn? Will it be by committee kind of thing? Also why does Marmol need someone on base to get a save. Maddening!

Bruce Levine
  (1:34 PM)

Marmol has always walked people and walways hit people. That's becuase his stuff is so good he doesn't even know where the ball is going. Piniella is going to mix and match just to try and win games. I don't know that anyone is going to have a set role at this point. All we know is Marmol is the closer.

Cormander (chitown)

Why do so many sports writers question our starting pitching??? Sure I have my doubt about the bullpen, but everyone seems to be only looking at the wins from our starters last year and not quality starts or even ERA. Randy Wells could have easily had 4-5 more wins last year if we had the bats producing runs and the same goes with every other starter on our team. Please enlighten me.

Bruce Levine
  (1:35 PM)

You appear enlightened enough. The Cubs' ERA was third in the NL in 2009. They would have won at least 7-8 games if their starting pitchers had stayed healthy. Zambrano is the key. He and Lilly have to stay healthy and pitch well.

mike (oak lawn)

bruce do you see the sox trading bobby jenks by the trade deadline with emeregnce of sergio santos?

Bruce Levine
  (1:37 PM)

Nobody ever has wenough depth in their bullpen. Injury, attrition, and bad pitching all occur during the season. The Sox aren't trading Jenks. Two things can happen: he's effetive and remains the closer and two, he fails and becomes a middle reliever.

Ben (Barrington)

Bruce,Is putting Soriano at 2nd an option? I know hes not solid defensively there but he isn't that good in left either, seems like a good option with Nady and Colvin looking good

Bruce Levine
  (1:38 PM)

Soriano would last two days at 2B. His legs would not be able to handled the wear and tear of the position. He's best suited for LF or maybe the NL will adopt the DH just to accommodate Soriano and the Cubs.

Scott DeRycke (Tampa, FL)

Geovony Soto does not seemed to have improved at all this season so far. Do you think his rookie year was a fluke? And what are the cubs options at catcher behind him if he does not improve?

Sam (Chicago)

Freddy Garcia was awfully impressive in his 2010 debut--his velocity was at times over 90MPH. Can the Sox count on this 35 times this year? Also, 2nd lefty out of the pen...can we do better than Randy Williams???

Bruce Levine
  (1:40 PM)

Their options are obvious now: Koyie Hill would catch half the games. They did well last season with him as catcher although he won't hit much. I watched Soto all spring and he never seemed to show any power. I think that's a genuine concern at this point. No minor league catchers are ready to take over.

Bruce Levine
  (1:41 PM)

I like Threats, who they had in camp in the spring. Williams is OK but I don't want him to face many right-handed hitters. They are hoping Gracia can win 12 games for them. If he goes 12-12 they would be very happy.

Biggy (Washington, NC)

What's the bullpen plan when Lilly comes back?

Bruce Levine
  (1:43 PM)

That will depend on who is pitching well. They have options on all their bullpen guys. They have no options on Gorzelanny or Silva. It would be between Samardzija, Carridad, Russell and Berg.

Jerre (Iowa)

Why do you think the Cardinals are so much better than the Cubbies?

Bruce Levine
  (1:44 PM)

I don't believe they are that much better. They have two star pitchers and two star hitters. After that, I don't see a real difference. Overall, the Cubs rotation could be just as good as the Cardinals.

AP (Chicago)

Ricketts has said that the cubs can add a player if needed - early ideas of targets or players that may become available that can help the cubs? thanks.

Bruce Levine
  (1:47 PM)

I would love to see them go after San Diego's Heath Bell. If Ricketts is willing to pay for some of that salary, the Cubs bullpen could go from a question mark to an expclamation point. Bell would probably set up Marmol and would probably cost the Cubs one of their top prospects. Bell will eb traded sometime this season.

Mike Thomas (Bartlett, IL)

Bruce, my man, if the Cubs are contending in July, what are the chances they make a deal with Cleveland for Kerry Wood, provided Wood shows his back is healthy?

Bruce Levine
  (1:48 PM)

I'm not sure that the Cubs are interested in trading for Wood just because he has already been injured this year. Why would you want to re-visit that. Kerry is a great guy and a great competitor but you don't want to go back to the towel drills.

Jamie (Illinois)

What would it cost prospect wise to get Bell?

Bruce Levine
  (1:49 PM)

Heath Bell is one of the dominant closers in the game. You would have to give up a Cashner or Vitters as well as another prospect in order to get San Diego's attention. That would be a steep price to pay for a guy who will be a free agent after this season.

Butters (Chicago)

Hey Bruce. Given how Baker has been doing lately, do you see him taking over full-time at 2b?

Bruce Levine
  (1:50 PM)

Baker doesn't hit righties on a consistent basis. I expect the platoon to continue. Baker is a very valuable extra man and I say that with due respect.

Paul (St. Paul)

Do you think Fukudome can keep his average up this year or will he struggle again?

Bruce Levine
  (1:51 PM)

His Mo.O. has been that he hits well early in the season. This year it's up to Jaramillo to keep his mechanics solid all year long. I think he can have a good year.

Pat (Chicago)

Randy Well's WHIP has always been a little high and he doesn't get too many strikeouts, but he manages to get people out. Do you think he can keep doing this in the long haul?

Bruce Levine
  (1:53 PM)

His command usually has to be pinpoint for him to be successful. He has shown over the last year that he knows how to pitch. When you watch him it's pretty simple: sinker, slider, throw strike one. As long as he stays ahead of the hitters he is going to be successful.

Stewie (Chicago)

Brruuucceee. I've read recently that Wrigley's poor batting cage situation has been put out there as a reason for the slow start. Is that a legit reason or just an excuse?

Bruce Levine
  (1:54 PM)

The Cubs led the NL in runs scored in 2008 with 855. To me that's a real lame excuse.

dJ (chicago)

Wouldn't it be better for everyone if A Jones started in a corner spot and moved Pierre to DH? It seems having 2 plus gloves in center could make up for Quentins lack of range and hopefully save Pierre body unnecessary stress assuming he get on base more than 12 times this year?

Bruce Levine
  (1:55 PM)

I'm with you on that all the way. At this point in Pierre's career he might appreciate the fact that he doesn't have to run around the outfield. Ozzie may yet get around to that.

Nick (Chicago)

Hey Bruce, (aside from last night) if the Sox continue to struggle at the plate could you see Kenny attempting to bring back Jermaine? Or trading for Gonzalez?

Bruce Levine
  (1:56 PM)

I'm sure he would love to trade for Adrian Gonzalez and I'm sure he will borach that if he becvomes available. Dye is not the answer to the Sox's needs. They don't need another DH who can't run. Dye's days as a regular outfielder are over.

Devin (Wheaton)

Hey Bruce, you rule. What's the deal with Ozzie taking on Jim Thome over the last few weeks? Did they have a bad relationship last year?

Bruce Levine
  (1:58 PM)

No, I just think he feels that Thome has never been a White Sox icon and that his presence for the last four year on the South Side shouldn't be over-evaluated. Let's be historicallt correct about this. The Sox traded Thome last August. That was not Ozzie's decision.

Bruce Levine
  (2:00 PM)

Keep your eye on Ted Lilly's start on Wednesday in Des Moines. He's only going to throw 60 pitches so he will have one more minor league outing after this. Circle April 24 as a very likely return date for Lilly pitching in Milwaukee against the Brewers. As far as the Sox go, I haven't heard anyone say they are scoring more runs. Now the concern is about the pitching. Let's try to watch these teams develope a bit and see what we have. Talk to you next week.