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April 12, 1:00 PM ET
Chat with Bruce Levine, Doug Padilla

Bruce Levine
  (1:03 PM)

Welcome to the chat room from Houston. It's 82 and warm as I look at Minute Maid, but it will be a lot warmer for James Russell making his first start. Let's go.

Eric (Iowa)

With Russell on a pitch count tonight is there anyone out of the bullpen that Mike WON'T use?

Bruce Levine
  (1:05 PM)

Most likely Marshall and Marmol. Marmol for maybe an out or two, but if Cubs are lucky enough to be in the game at the end, it's probably Kerry Wood.
  (1:06 PM)

Sorry guys, Bruce had to pursue a story tip. He'll be back in a minute. Thanks for your patience.

Brandon N. (Las Cruces,)

Whats up with Pena? I see he's getting on base via BB's but not with the bat.. Any chance Colvin starts to see more playing time at 1st?

Bruce Levine
  (1:10 PM)

Maybe Colvin with more time but more likely Baker against lefties. Quade will have to find a spot for Baker other than 2B, becuase Barney continues to be productive.

Bill (Chicago)

Wouldn't Blake DeWitt be better served by playing everyday in Iowa while trying to improve at second base? Also, wouldn't the Cubs be better served by having someone like Augie Ojeda as the backup infielder, since he can play shorstop as well?

Bruce Levine
  (1:11 PM)

Ojeda still is recovering from back problems in the spring. That's why they signed him and why teams need veteran backup infielders. Ask the Dodgers who lost Furcal for a month. Some scouts believe DeWitt is good as he's going to be 2b.

Eric (Superior, WI)

Bruce,Samardijza has been a huge disappointment. I know he has no options left, but what else does this guy have to do before it's time to dump him and his salary? He is awful.

Bruce Levine
  (1:12 PM)

It will take a while, especially for a peripheral pitcher, and don't be surprised to see him get 2-3 innings tonight.

J.R. Van Houghton (Chicago)

What happened to Quade's aggressiveness? I know he doesnt have alot of team speed, but this is basically the same team he had last year, but he stole more and had more hit and runs. What gives?

Bruce Levine
  (1:13 PM)

Last night he had a hit and run and a stolen base that worked. What you need before aggressiveness is runners on base. With Castro and Barney at the top of the lineup, the Cubs have a chance to have a better fucntion at the areas you talk about.

Dustin (STL)

Any chance they name barney the everyday second baseman? Seems like him and castro do well defensively and have been getting on base alot. your thoughts?

Bruce Levine
  (1:14 PM)

Ideally if Barney plays like he has, he should be your everyday 2b, that said Baker has to play agaisnt lefties because he's hitting them at a .400 clip. He can play rf, 1b and 3b, so Quade has some areas of versatility.

Shep (Chicago)

Hi Bruce... any chance that Tyler Colvin has an opportunity to win the RF, or is he simply a fill-in for Kosuke? I know 21's not an All-Star yet, but it seems like no one is until they have an opportunity to be one.

Bruce Levine
  (1:15 PM)

Colvin is out of synch right now, at bat and in the field. He needs some consistent playing time. And with Fukudome out, it would be nice to see him get 30-40 bats in a row. That's what he needs to get straightened out.

Hack Wilson IX (Boulder, CO)

Bruce, Is there a great deal of embarrassment in the organization now about choosing Mateo over Silva? Essentially we paid $10 million to fit an erratic rookie on the team, and now we don't have enough pitchers. I heard we just signed Ramon Ortiz for Iowa, the kind of thing you might see the Royals or Pirates do.

Bruce Levine
  (1:16 PM)

Here's something you never heard before, you never have enough starting pitching. I just came with that line. I'm pretty smart, right? The Yankees select other people's useless pitchers, and to their credit, some of them can still get people out. Freddy Garcia comes to mind. Silva was addition by subtraction.

Steve (Chicago)

Which Chicago team needs more bullpen help?????

Bruce Levine
  (1:17 PM)

Right now you'd have to say the Sox. Thornton is not throwing the way he has in the past. It's not that he's afraid, just doesn't seem to have same velocity or command.

Cheesehead Sports Nut (Chicago, IL)

I don't normally like to jump to conclusions this early in the season but the Chicago Cubs looked like a flawed, overpaid team to me. What are your thoughts on the Chicago Cubs?

Bruce Levine
  (1:18 PM)

Overpaid is an interesting way to look at a team that lost $14M in payroll from last year. If you want to talk this early, nobody is more overpaid than the Red Sox. But this is not the NFL. Give it about 45 days.

Angel (Miami, FL)

Hi Bruce, love your work. What do you think of some of the at bats Starlin Castro had last night? In his 4th at bat, the Astros were clearly not going to let him smack another ball and seemed determined to throw him garbage around the strike zone. He fouled off about 10 pitches of which 9 were clearly balls(which prompted me to say "TAKE THE WALK KID!" out loud). Len Casper then commented that teams might look at that at bat in which he ultimately struck out and might start pitching him that way. What are your thoughts?

Bruce Levine
  (1:20 PM)

His plate coverage is so good and he has such a quick bat that teams will have trouble striking him out. He had 13 pitches in that at-bat and saw more pitches than any other player last night, averaging 6.2 per at-bat. If you want him to walk, you're going to lose his aggressiveness.

Jay (Chicago)

If the Carlos Pena Experience doesn't get a lot better, could this be the $10 million that finally sinks Teflon Hendry?

Bruce Levine
  (1:21 PM)

Lot of people are on that bandwagon, blame Hendry for having three owners in four years. Sam Zell is the one who wanted the $150M payroll, not Hendry.

Brian W (StL)

Why does it seem that Q is keeping the status quo on pitchers staying in games like Lou did? After the 6th inning Demp should have been out and time for the bullpen. Is there fear with the bullpen or is Q thinking too much about the next games?

Bruce Levine
  (1:27 PM)

I think you're right on, and Quade admitted as much after the game.
  (1:27 PM)

Sorry guys, busy day with the Cubs. He had to pursue something. Will be back shortly. Thanks for patience.

Bruce Levine
  (1:29 PM)

Doug Davis has signed a minor league deal with the Cubs. He's coming off elbow surgery last year. He'll pitch in Mesa and get his pitch count up before the Cubs send him on assignment. There's no commitment to him.

Bruce Levine
  (1:30 PM)

The best-case scenario is Davis is ready in a week. A source told me he's already up to 70 pitches and he can be a nice stopgap between the time Wells and Cashner return. The best case scenario for Wells is 3 1/2-4 weeks. More cautious with Cashner, maybe 6 weeks.

Bruce Levine
  (1:31 PM)

Should be an interesting evening with the bullpen pitching against the Astros. Let's see if Quade uses the daily double of Castro and Barney to lead off. See you next week. Time for Doug Padilla and your White Sox questions.

Doug Padilla
  (2:28 PM)

I missed my chat window. Let's answer some of your inquiries now.

Doug Padilla
  (2:32 PM)

Pierre has been a solid outfielder (minus the throwing arm) up until now. He made some great plays on the run last year, even harder than the ones he has botched so far. Despite what it looks like the White Sox don't figure to replace him late in games just yet. The LF options are Pierre, Lillibridge and Teahen. They'd probably still be more comfortable with Pierre.

patrick (hegewish)

will the sox start using a defensive replacement for juan pierre in tight ballgames. its getting scary!

Doug Padilla
  (2:32 PM)

The answer above if for Patrick's question.

Scott (Chicago)

I'm really disappointed in Pierre's performance defensively. Do you think it's right to sit him for a game or two?

Doug Padilla
  (2:34 PM)

While disappointed, nobody is that down on Pierre to sit him. He's a solid leadoff man and has helped set the table to get the offense off to a hot start. Sadly for Pierre, his miscues have come in high profile spots.

Derek (Country Club Hills)

How much is Thornton to blame for all these blown saves?

Doug Padilla
  (2:36 PM)

He hasn't looked good, that's for sure. But because of the bad defense it certainly looks far worse. It would be interesting to know how he would have done without the errors. But he still is far from dominating.

Gordon (Elgin, IL)

Time for Ozzie to give more opportunities fro Sale to be the closer?

Doug Padilla
  (2:38 PM)

While Ozzie said last night that Thornton will continue to get chances, it will be interesting to hear him on the subject again today. As brash as Ozzie can be, he sometimes waits a day to commit to major decisions like changing his closer. But expect others to get more chances at the end of games.

Chris (IL)

I was so excited about the start but the bullpen has taken the wind out of my sails. The Sox are playing well and need to take advantage of that as there will be bad stretches. Starting 6-4 is a big disappointment when they should be 8-2. All the games count. Your thoughts?

Doug Padilla
  (2:41 PM)

Chris, don't let the negatives ruin your enjoyment of the game. The White Sox have one of the best offenses in baseball and their starting pitching has been solid. The bullpen has the talent, we just need to see it come through. (Same with the defense.) It's better they go through this now instead of September with a playoff spot on the line. Without Jenks there was going to be an adjustment period, it's just that nobody thought it would be this harsh.

ken (Murfreesboro Tn)

How long before Dunn comes back?

Doug Padilla
  (2:42 PM)

I'm guessing today or tomorrow. He was crushing balls in BP yesterday. Dunn had his bating gloves on in the late innings yesterday but Ozzie said he wasn't going to use him.

andre (victorville)

Any chance Phil Humber stays consistent with his curve and is in the rotation when Peavy comes back?

Doug Padilla
  (2:43 PM)

Coop has hinted at getting Humber a start here or there in what would amount to a six-man rotation at times. We'll have to see on that though. If everybody is healthy, Humber is the long man.

Christian (Washington DC)

With Peavy coming back, do you see the Sox sending Gray, Humber, or Ohman down to get his spot back? I'd love to see Humber as a guy outside of long relief....I think he would be much more helpful than Ohman....

Doug Padilla
  (2:44 PM)

Gray would be the long man out in this scenario.

Jason (Bmore)

Doesn't it seem that Santos should be the favorite to get the saves, given his success this year and the fact he's a hard throwing righty? It was always odd Ozzie never got him in the mix more for this.

Doug Padilla
  (2:46 PM)

I think Santos is a possibility but remember he's not only a young guy, he's also new to pitching. He's looked good both this spring and in the early going, no doubt. But he could still use time as a setup guy before making such a big leap to closer. But if things continue on this same route he may end up getting a chance anyway. He's certainly a closer candidate of the future, though.

Dennis (Portland, OR)

Who do you think the 1st person to get called up from AAA is?

Doug Padilla
  (2:48 PM)

Jeff Gray was the first. Viciedo will be tempting to recall, but he'll need a place to play on an every day basis.

Dan (Chicago)

Go to love the hot start Paulie has been on! This club could be one of the best offensive clubs in mlb.

Doug Padilla
  (2:49 PM)

One thing you can count on with Konerko is that he brings it every day. For anybody that thought he was digging deep last year because it was a contract year, well he got his money and he continues to push himself. PK is one of the real pros in the game.

Matt (Chicago)

Why not leave Buehrle in to finish last night? He only had 99 pitches through 8 and the bullpen has been blowing leads left and right. Any explanation from Ozzie as to why he pulled him?

Doug Padilla
  (2:51 PM)

I would have liked to see Buehrle stay out there in a batter-by-batter situation. If he puts a guy on then go to the bullpen. But because the 'pen has been struggling that would have put them in an even tougher spot than coming in with the bases empty.

Dennis (Portland, OR)

Do you think Beckham can keep up this pace for an entire season? He has seemed to be crushing the ball and getting on base alot.

Doug Padilla
  (2:55 PM)

Don't worry Dennis, your fantasy team should be fine with Beckham producing well all season. It's gonna be hard to keep this pace, but he looks to be in store for a solid season if he stays healthy.

Mike (Schaumburg)

Does Gavin Floyd = Javier Vasquez? Great stuff, but interesting mental makeup & seems to fall off at end of the season.

Doug Padilla
  (2:56 PM)

Yes, Gavin needs to show up for an entire season. It's why he dropped a bunch of weight in the offseason in the hope that it helps his full-season stamina. Everybody knows about his late season drop off. Nice to see him do something about it.

Erif (Schaumburg)

Is Jordan Danks the possible replacement for Juan Pierre next year?

Doug Padilla
  (2:58 PM)

Could be. He looked ready for the spot this spring when he was hitting the ball all over the place. It'll be interesting to see if he gets recalled at any point this season.

Ryan (Joilet, IL)

Edwin Jackson looks like he will have a nice payday in the upcoming free agency period. Any chance the White Sox try to keep him? This is assuming he pitches well enough to incite the question.

Doug Padilla
  (2:59 PM)

It would be Jackson or Buehrle to re-sign, but not both.

Sara (Elgin, IL)

Has Coop lost weight? He looks good...

Doug Padilla
  (2:59 PM)

I think he just has a better tan this year.

Doug Padilla
  (2:59 PM)

OK folks. Sorry I was late. Talk to you on time from Tampa next week.