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March 22, 1:00 PM ET
Chat with Bruce Levine, Doug Padilla

Bruce Levine
  (1:01 PM)

Welcome to the last week of spring training. Like many teams, the Cubs still have some questions to answer: Fifth starter, the last two bullpen spots, and what to do with Silva. Welcome ...

Dave (Chicago)

It seems the Cubs want to give Silva every chance to win the 5th spot in the rotation. Is it really better to have Cashner pitch out of the pen and delay his development as a starter?

Bruce Levine
  (1:02 PM)

In my mind no, but that doesn't count. If it was up to me I would have Cashner and Russell both in Triple-A refining their skills for an early call-up as rotation pitchers. Unfortunately, Ricketts hasn't asked me to help Hendry and his people out yet.

Bill (Chicago)

Do the Cubs have any interest in the recently released Garret Atkins or Oliver Perez? Or do we have better options already on the roster?

Bruce Levine
  (1:04 PM)

Perez has been a washout for a number of years already. I don't know where Atkins would play on this team. If anything the Cubs need a middle infielder who can play SS. That still may be Augie Ojeda if he can get healthy.

Addum Kulmoaney (LaSalle, IL)

Are the Cubs now looking at a 3-headed monster (that doesn't scare anybody) at 2nd base? Have they inquired about Michael Young? If so, what is the asking price?

Bruce Levine
  (1:05 PM)

Michael Young is not on our radar. They have zero money to spend. Repeat, zero money to spend. That means no matter what the discount is on Young's salary they wouldn't be able to absorb the rest. Barney eventually could win the job outright if he continues to play well.

BJ (Indiana)

What will become of Silva? Does it look like there's trade possibilities out there?

Bruce Levine
  (1:06 PM)

There are no trade possibilities for Silva until he can get out there a couple more times and be consistent. Like most of the Cubs pitchers fighting for the fifth starter role, wild inconsistency has been their only consistency.

GENE GROSSMAN (OAKLAND)

Why are the Cubs keeping Koye Hill as a backup? It seems evident that he can't hit a whit. Let's go with someone whose upside is higher.

Bruce Levine
  (1:08 PM)

Hill has never been able to hit. The only reason he is here is because of the intangibles he brings. Those include calling a good game, having the confidence of the pitching staff and occasionally throwing a base runner out. Castillo will start the season at Triple-A and if he progresses as much as he has shown in the spring he may force his way on to the big-league roster in 2011.

Jon (Wrigleyville)

Bruce, does Randy Wells prove me wrong and become a useful, mid-rotation starter? His 2009 peripherals did not line up with his numbers, I still have my doubts which season was the outlier.

Bruce Levine
  (1:10 PM)

If Wells continues to work hard at his game and concentrate on baseball he can be a serviceable fourth and fifth starter. He has natural sink on his fastball which makes him an ideal Wrigley Field pitcher. To answer your question, he will answer what kind of pitcher he really is on the field.

Tommy (Chicago)

When do you expect the supposed roster decisions today? And who do you expect to win the 5th starter, 5th outfielder, and last couple of bullpen spots?

Bruce Levine
  (1:11 PM)

Right now there is no clear-vut fifth starter. I still think Looper, Silva and Cashner are in the mix. I will tell you the Cubs are very high on Casey Coleman, but he is most likely going to pitch in Triple-A. Reed Johnson is a clear-cut winner in the outfield. In the bullpen, the spots are still up in the air depending on the rotation decisions.

Paul (St. Louis)

Bruce, I'm not impressed with Perez or Reed, any rumors on a out of options player that might be available? Or could Silva be moved for one? Maybe a Rowand with money coming back from Gnats?

Bruce Levine
  (1:13 PM)

Aaron Rowand is available. I believe there is two more years on his contract at $12 million per. Unless the Giants release him and write a huge check I don't see that happening. Johnson fits the Cubs' needs: a vet they can count on on the field and in the clubhouse.

Ted Lilly (Los Angeles)

I just read on the waiver wire that I was optioned to AAA last week. Am I injured or something? Bruce, help an old buddy out and get to the bottom of this please. TL

Bruce Levine
  (1:14 PM)

Haven't followed the Dodgers that closely but I'll try to find out today. I can tell you you can't be optioned to Triple A without your consent.

JC (milwaukee)

What's the story on Garza? Hamstring still bothering him? Do you see him healthy and productive at the start of the season?

Bruce Levine
  (1:15 PM)

The hamstring was just a residual effect of a hole in the mound that he was falling in. There is really no injury to speak of.

Boris (Glenview)

Does Soriano look better with his legs? Is he faster in the field and on the base pads?

Bruce Levine
  (1:16 PM)

He's not faster. Do his legs appear stronger and has he been putting in more work? Yes. He'll never be faster again.

Jason (VA)

Why are the Cubs so strapped for money? Could any of these players be moved to free up some money; Soriano, Ramirez, Zambrano, Silva?

Bruce Levine
  (1:17 PM)

This is a conversation we need to have in July if the team is not competitive. None of them are being traded or asked to be traded until the Cubs find out what kind of team they have.

Robert (Arlington Heights)

Has Braden Looper been that bad this spring? Seems like he would win the fifth starter spot based on spring performance. A vet who can throw strikes sounds pretty good.

Bruce Levine
  (1:18 PM)

He wasn't awful up until his last outing. And he was plenty awful then but it's one outing. There is still a week for him to get stretched out.

Adam (Nashville)

Bruce, do we have the option to send DeWitt to AAA to work on his hitting?

Bruce Levine
  (1:18 PM)

Yes, he still has options.

Lar (Las Vegas)

Has Mike Quade put a stop to Carlos Z's batting practices? He seems to keeps getting hurt in batting practice

Bruce Levine
  (1:19 PM)

For now they are limiting some of the things he does with the bat just because he had a jammed wrist. His computer skills are still impeccable.

Grant B. (Sioux Falls, SD)

Why are we not talking about Scott Moore MORE? He has torn it up this Spring and is a leftie... He has been good a 1st, but doesn't he also play 2nd?

Bruce Levine
  (1:20 PM)

Moore and Scales both have a chance to make this team as a backup if DeWitt goes to the minors. Neither are exactly what you want defensively at second base. Both have produced offensively this spring.

Joe (TN)

Do you think Colvin will actually see much time at 1B this season or will they mainly use Baker as the backup?

Bruce Levine
  (1:21 PM)

Pena is being paid $10 million to pay everyday so unless there is an injury, expect him to play about 140 games. The rest will be Colvin or Baker.

Scott (QC)

Can Wellington play any other positions, such as 3rd or 1st? It would be nice to have his bat in the lineup 3 or 4 times a week.

Bruce Levine
  (1:23 PM)

It's an interesting thought but when you consider how difficult it is to get catchers who can hit and throw I think the smart money is on him staying behind the plate. It worked out well for Joe Torre though, didn't it? Craig Biggio wasn't bad either.

Jeff (Des Moines)

Any chance Barney pulls an upset and is the starter coming out of ST?

Bruce Levine
  (1:24 PM)

Barney has been the poster boy for surprises this spring. The fact that he reminds a lot of people of Theriot doesn't hurt. Everybody loves the "baseball player-type", the dirty uniform guy. He appears to be that guy.

William Roaf (Nashville)

Who would you say is the most important player who needs to step up big this season for the Cubs to win the division?

Bruce Levine
  (1:25 PM)

Pitching-wise, Zambrano. Position-wise, Ramirez. And 1A to Ramirez is Carlos Pena.

JD (Lynwood)

Bruce, Chris Carpenter has thrown the ball well this spring. What do you think the timetable is to give this kid an extended look? He is 25 years old and i would rather see him on the mlb roster than Samardja?

Bruce Levine
  (1:27 PM)

He's throwing the ball well. But there are others out there who are throwing equally well. Mateo has made a lot of strong impressions and he might win a bullpen spot outright. Carpenter will pitch in Triple-A to start the season.

Chad (Goshen)

What's the scoop with Marshall? He's been rocky his last couple of outings. We need him badly, Wood is a hot tub slip away from the DL, knock on "wood", no pun intended.

Bruce Levine
  (1:28 PM)

Marshall has just gone through a little period of dead arm. His last two outing have been sub-par. I wouldn't worry about him. P.S. stay in your own Hot Tub Time Machine.

Miguel (Ferndale, WA)

How many games will Big Z win? He looked great the last 10 games last year. Can he get a perfect game?

Bruce Levine
  (1:29 PM)

I'm not in the predicition business. You guys are as smart as I am with predictions. I'm in the information business. To answer your question, I have no idea.

Jake (Chicago)

How has Kerry Wood looked so far? haven't heard a lot about him

Bruce Levine
  (1:30 PM)

Wood has pitched well. Last time out he was a little rough. He pitched in minor league game yesterday. We didn't get the numbers but they were just trying to find innings. Yesterday's rainout didn't help the staff.

Bruce Levine
  (1:31 PM)

Should be an interesting couple of days. We might have some info on the roster today but most likely Hendry will announce some of his moves by Thursday. Now for my friend Doug Padilla, who will talk Sox and will tell you where to get a good meal in Scottsdale.

Doug Padilla
  (1:35 PM)

Hello all. Here we go.

brandon (omaha)

Hey Doug, how's your bracket holding up?And how about Omar? He's having a solid (albeit limited) spring at the plate. How do see him holding up over the course of the season, and how many ABs do you see him winding up with this year?

Doug Padilla
  (1:38 PM)

Bracket is doing just fine in a big pool I wil refrain from mentioning.Omar looks to be in great shape. If he can just stick to his role as backup 2B and SS he should be just. Funny to see him laugh earlier this spring when he found out a reporter (not me) was the same age as him.

Kristy (TP, IL)

Who has the best chance at taking Peavy's place as a starter? ...Coop recently said Sale would NOT...

Doug Padilla
  (1:40 PM)

Kristy,they decided long ago that Sale will stick to the bullpen this year. Phil Humber has a great shot at filling that role until Peavy gets back. Watch Humber face the Cubs Thursday on ESPN2. A good outing there locks down that long relief/spot starter role.

Doug Padilla
  (1:42 PM)

Peavy has rotator cuff tendintis. It's not the same spot a his surgery in July but it's not hard to make the leap that it's connected since it arose during his rhab starts. DL is almost certain to begin the season. But remember, tendinitis isn't nearly as bad as a blown out lat. Shoud miss 3-4 starts to begin the season.

Doug Padilla
  (1:42 PM)

Did I post that last question? Here it is?

Ken (OB)

What exactly is the latest injury to Peavy? Day-to-Day or DL?

Kaufmak (Chicago)

The line up today is...interesting. What is the rationale behind it?

Doug Padilla
  (1:44 PM)

I presume you are talking about the OF? Lillibridge is getting a late look in center and Teahen needs some OF time just in case Morel wins the 3B job. The best bet is that Morel gets it and Teahen becomes a utility man.

Vaci (Midway)

How is Dayan viciedo doing? and what are details about peavys shoulder and will he be alright?

Doug Padilla
  (1:47 PM)

Viciedo is progressing as expected. He started cardio work late last week and could be a week away from resuming baseball ativities. Could be back on the field by the end of spring training. As for Peavy, see above.

Chris (Kansas City)

Is Rios keeping the 3 spot? And who gets the 2 spot? Alexei or Gordon?

Doug Padilla
  (1:47 PM)

Expect to see Rios in the No. 5 spot. Dunn is targeted for the No. 3 hole. Beckham will hit second.

Chris (Yorkville)

Doug, I strongly believe a healthy Peavy is the single biggest key to White Sox success this year. Can you please, please talk me down off the ledge that this guy isn't actually made of glass? Every time Clayton Richard has a good outing in SD, I die a little inside.

Doug Padilla
  (1:52 PM)

He is a huge key to the White Sox's success. The domino effect got to Peavy. His ankle injury led to his lat problem which led to his rotator cuff soreness. He isn't a kid anymore, although at 29 he isn't an old man either. He needs to be OK wth backing off at times but it's hard for him because he's been a grinder his entire baseball life.

Dave (Chicago)

Is Jordan Danks still our best prospect? What other young guys do we have to look forward too?

Doug Padilla
  (1:55 PM)

Watch for OF Stefan Gartrell and SS Eduardo Escobar. C Tyler Flowers has had a fantastic spring. And 1B Jim Gallagher has not only played in a ton of games with the big club this spring, he has played well. Not sure Gallagher is the level of prospect as those others though. RH Gregory Infante is close.

Tom (Tinley Park)

Do you think that Lastings Millidge will be the fourth outfielder?

Doug Padilla
  (1:55 PM)

Yes.

Kaufmak (Chicago)

Just saw the tweets about Sox cuts, no big surprises. As it stands now, who's the last to go?

Doug Padilla
  (1:57 PM)

Lillibridge looks to be on the outside looking in. That will be a tough one. He's a good kid and has a lot of versatility on defense. He's out of options so he figures to be claiimed by somebody.

Mike (Las Vegas)

Doug, I have a slightly off topic question... Buerhle is my all time favorite player. He seems to have every accolade a pitcher can have; Gold Glove, No-Hitter, Perfect Game, Top web gem of all of last year, and a complete workhorse year in and year out. Can he make the hall of fame?

Doug Padilla
  (1:59 PM)

Not if he retires like he keps on talking about. While it's been a great career for sure, he just doesn't have the numbers to make a serious H of F run. That doesn't mean he won't get a statue on the South Side and maybe a retired number when his paying days are done.

Brian (Peoria)

Doug Give me one reason why the Sox will win the Central.Give me one reason why the won't.

Doug Padilla
  (2:00 PM)

If everybody plays to their expectations the White Sox win it. If the Twins pull another rabbit out of the hat, or two, they don't

Jim (Canada)

Vegas has the Sox at 85.5 wins this season...Over or Under? Also, who are they fighting with down the stretch...Tigers or Twins?

Doug Padilla
  (2:02 PM)

Jim, please don't tell me you are going to use my projection to bet. But if you're that nuts I won't stop you. I'm going over for sure. The Twins find a way so I will say it'll be them again.

brandon (omaha)

Give us an opening day lineup vs. Carmona.

Doug Padilla
  (2:04 PM)

Pierre LF, Beckham 2B, Dunn DH, Konerko 1B, Rios CF, Quentin RF, Pierzynski C, Ramirez SS, Morel 3B. Buehrle is the pitcher.

Doug Padilla
  (2:05 PM)

Just hearing Peavy played catch today for 5-6 minutes at 30-40 feet. Gotta run and see what he has to say. Look for more at espnchicago.com. Hope my boss saw tht plug.