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September 11, 1:00 PM ET
Chat with Bruce Levine

Bruce Levine
  (12:59 PM)

Exciting baseball on the South Side of Chicago. I hope you White Sox fans are enjoying it. Cubs fans -- your team is on a streak too. Welcome to the chat.

Jeff (Joliet)

How serious is Adam Dunn's injury?

Bruce Levine
  (1:00 PM)

He tweaked it. Put it this way: mid-level oblique strains usually take at least a week. He came back in two days and messed up the process for him and the team. I would doubt if we see him in this series.

ron (Alta Loma CA)

Do you think the winner of this Sox/Tiger series wins the divison?

Bruce Levine
  (1:01 PM)

You have to be a little bit more pointed. If the Sox split the series, the division is still wide open. But if they sweep I would say it's about over. A six-game lead with 17 or 18 to go would be a pretty safe lead.

Dong Dong (Carpentersville)

Was Alex Rios' HR last night as big as Joe Crede vs. Cleveland Indians in 2005?

Bruce Levine
  (1:02 PM)

Not quite -- but getting there. A three-game lead is nothing to hang your hat on right now. We'll know a lot more about this division after Thursday's game. Detroit is very capable of running off three straight wins. No time to count your chickens.

Justin (McAllen, TX)

What do you think we can reasonably expect from Floyd during his return? He's coming back to pitch in a big time game against the team that is chasing the White Sox.

Bruce Levine
  (1:04 PM)

I would say about 80 pitches and 5 innings. If you get 5 innings out of him and you give up 3 runs or less, I think that would be a decent comeback for him seeing as he hasn't pitched since August 26. Keep in mind that Floyd has had a very good record against the Tigers over the years. That's one of the reasons he's slotted against them instead of Liriano.

Will - Louisville, ky [via mobile]

Being that Lahair is an aging corner OF / 1B do you think he will be released to make room for Sappelt as new 4th OF? if so who is next years relief at 1B for Rizzo?

Bruce Levine
  (1:06 PM)

I don't think he'll be released but I think there is a good chance the Cubs will sell him to Japan. LaHair had a couple of big offers last season that he turned down. But this time around he might want to make some money for himself and his family by playing in Japan. The Cubs would retain his rights and be able to negotiate a sale to a Japanese team.

Sof (Batavia, IL)

Soler - 2014 with the big club? Maybe a September call-up next year? Same time frame for Baez?

Bruce Levine
  (1:08 PM)

I think we're moving a little too fast there for both players. The Cubs rule of thumb is that before you get to the major leagues you get 500 at-bats at AAA. I don't see either of those players at AAA next year. Both Epstein and Hoyer believe in their players getting that extra experience before they are deemed major league ready.

george Blystone (norwalk ct)

Why does Robin not put Rios in the 3rd spot while dunne is out and aj 5th and viecendo 6th

Bruce Levine
  (1:09 PM)

Robin is like a lot of the old school managers. They believe there is a comfort level in the spot that guys hit in in the lineup. That is why whoever the substitute is goes into that spot. I would agree with you. I want my better hitters and run producers higher in the lineup. But you can't argue with the success Robin has had so far.

Fred (Bedrock)

Barney gets robbed on the Gold Glove doesn't he?

Bruce Levine
  (1:13 PM)

Fred from Bedrock...and a question about Barney. Wow! But yes, Gold Gloves usually go to the better hitter at the position, and Phillips in Cincy fits that bill. That aside, it's hard to ignore an errorless streak of over 100 games. The Gold Glove is a popularity contest that centers around an offensive player as well as a good defender. But Barney has a chance.

Ken (Tinley Park)

Speaking of Gold Glove.....Pauly gets robbed again, doesn't he?

Bruce Levine
  (1:15 PM)

Paulie's range has always hurt him in Gold Glove conversations. But nobody is more consistent at picking a ball out of the dirt than Paulie. I think he has improved at the position every year.

John (Chicago)

Whose your #3 and #4 SPs for the Sox in the playoffs?

Bruce Levine
  (1:16 PM)

1 Sale, 2 Peavy. As it stands now, Quintana 3rd and Floyd 4th. Liriano on the outside looking in.

Tony (Iowa)

If you had to guess right now, who of these 3 do you see with the Sox on opening day next season...Peavy, Youk, AJ? Thanks!

Bruce Levine
  (1:19 PM)

My guess would be none of the above. Peavy will be looking to get a 3-year deal with a club. AJ will be looking for his last big money contract. And Youkilis to me is the wild card. If he'd take a short term deal I'm sure the White Sox would sign him back. But the White Sox need to keep some flexibility. I think they will be going younger next year.

Posko (Chitown)

I'm not sure of the move starting Floyd over Liriano. To me I would keep Liriano starting and bring Floyd out for long relief. Your thoughts.

Bruce Levine
  (1:20 PM)

Liriano has just been maddening for the coaching staff to watch. He's just been walking the ballpark. At this point there is no trust there and he has been relegated to the bullpen. Still, things have a way of changing over a 2-3 week period. So we may see him back in there if there is an injury or someone is ineffective. For now he is the long man out of the pen.

Samuel G (Chicago, IL)

Do you think Dale Sveum will be the manager for the Cubs next season?

Bruce Levine
  (1:22 PM)

Absolutely. He has a three-year contract. Most people think he has done a very good job with a team that has changed two or three times throughout the season. In my opinion, Sveum and his coaches have done a sensational job of teaching young players how to play in the major leagues and helping vets like Soriano actually get better.

Tommy (Chicago )

Bruce with Brendly contract up with the Cubs next year can we expect the Cubs to re-sign him? With they consider other candidates such as Mark Grace? Also what is the remander of Steve Stone's deal with the Sox? I cannot believe he enjoys working along side Hawk. Would Stone come back to the Cubs?

Bruce Levine
  (1:26 PM)

Interesting premise. I believe WGN would love to keep Brenly and Len Kasper together. Most people believe it's one of the better broadcasts in baseball. That said, WGN has some issues with the bankruptcy problem, as well as the fact that the Cubs can get out of that contract after 2014. That means the Cubs could shop a certain amount of their games to another broadcast partner. The Comcast deal runs another six years. I think Stone has found a nice home with the White Sox. To say that he and Hawk function at a high level as a team all the time would not be correct. But individually they are both outstanding broadcasters. Brenly is, from what I've been told, the highest-paid color commentator in baseball for local broadcasts.

Dylan (St. Louis)

Right now Castro and Rizzo are the big men on campus. When we become more competitive and start getting more impact players do you think they will raise their game to another level?

Bruce Levine
  (1:27 PM)

I think that's an interesting question, but one not too easy to answer at this point. Both should just continue to improve on their own because of the great talent they have. I still believe this is a down year for Castro. But he has many years of 25 homers and 100 RBI in front of him.

Quinn (Chicago)

What are the realistic returns we could expect if the Cubs found an AL team to deal Soriano to in the winter (agreeing to pay most of the contract)?

Bruce Levine
  (1:29 PM)

It just depends on perspective of Epstein and Hoyer. If you really want Epstein and Castro to improve, you need a threat in the lineup around them. Soriano is definitely a threat. However, at age 37, he's also a player that may start to show his age and become injury prone. Logically you would like to trade him for a young prospect or two, and save $12-$15 million off his deal. So at $6-7 million a year, Soriano would be a cheap buy for an AL team that needs a DH.

Mike (Chicago)

Down the stretch, who are you rooting for more, Yanks or Orioles?

Bruce Levine
  (1:31 PM)

You always cheer for the team that hasn't been there for a while. It would be great to see a team like the Orioles back in the playoffs after about 15 years. I think injuries and age have caught up a bit with the Yankees.

Robert (Madison, WI)

I was very surprised last night to see Robin go with Omogrosso and Veal against Cabrera and Fielder in the 8th inning (instead of Crain/Myers/Thornton). I haven't heard an explanation for that decision. Whatever the reason was, I trust Robin, I just didn't hear the rationale after the game.

Bruce Levine
  (1:32 PM)

Veal has faced nineteen left-handed hitters in a row without allowing a hit. He's also struck out 12 of those 19. That's why he went with Veal. Also, some of those veteran pitchers on the Sox are just starting to wear down.

Bruce Levine
  (1:32 PM)

Veal has faced nineteen left-handed hitters in a row without allowing a hit. He's also struck out 12 of those 19. That's why he went with Veal. Also, some of those veteran pitchers on the Sox are just starting to wear down.

Cubs Fan (Aurora, IL)

Any chance Rhino makes his way back to the north side of Chicago?

Bruce Levine
  (1:34 PM)

If he does he's paying for his own flight. I think when Charlie Manuel is done managing the Phillies that Sandberg will get an opportunity there. He has certainly paid his dues and I think he is very deserving of a big league job. Some people believe having one year on a major league coaching staff would be the last step of experience needed for him. But after watching Robin and Matheny manage this year, you get the feeling that Sandberg is qualified to manage in the majors right now.

chad (grand forks)

if the Cubs avoid losing 100 games this season will it be considered a success?

Bruce Levine
  (1:36 PM)

No. Why would it? They're still a team that is 2 or 3 years away from being a contender. They need starting pitching up and down the entire organization.

Julio (Humboldt Park)

Any notable free agent targets for the cubs this winter?

Bruce Levine
  (1:38 PM)

I would think guys like Shawn Marcum. Middle-range starting pitching that would be willing to take one-year deals with a club option. The Cubs are going to have to try and be competitive in the first half of the season. They need to have decent, veteran starting pitchers that have portable contracts to be moved by the trade deadline. I think that will be the Cubs' method for at least the next year or two. It's not a rosy picture to paint. But it is a credible way of keeping your team somewhat competitive while rebuilding your farm system with younger prospects.

Bruce Levine
  (1:38 PM)

I would think guys like Shawn Marcum. Middle-range starting pitching that would be willing to take one-year deals with a club option. The Cubs are going to have to try and be competitive in the first half of the season. They need to have decent, veteran starting pitchers that have portable contracts to be moved by the trade deadline. I think that will be the Cubs' method for at least the next year or two. It's not a rosy picture to paint. But it is a credible way of keeping your team somewhat competitive while rebuilding your farm system with younger prospects.

Jack (New York)

if Chris Sale can out pitch JV this week does it put him in driver seat for cy young

Bruce Levine
  (1:39 PM)

It wouldn't hurt his chances. It's still a toss-up with those two, King Felix, David Price and Jered Weaver. But that certainly would put Sale in the 'big game' category.

Dave (Illinois)

When do you think the Cubs will say we've had enought of Volstad? Do they really see a bright future for him in the Cubs rotation?

Bruce Levine
  (1:40 PM)

They kind of need veteran pitchers. I don't think they want to pay him $2-3 million next year though. My guess is they will try to move him in a deal. He has been better lately. But there's no way to tell how competitive he'll be next season.

Zolty (NY)

Will Paul Konerko be a lock for the HOF?

Bruce Levine
  (1:41 PM)

As of right now he'd be in the Hall of the Very Good. What he needs is probably two more 25-homer seasons after this year.

Matt (Chicago)

Do you think that Ventura has lost confidence in Thornton...and Reed? They've both been mediocre lately

Bruce Levine
  (1:43 PM)

I don't know if you lose confidence in guys. I think you look at the wear and tear of the season on these guys. Thornton has appeared in more games than any reliever in baseball since 2006. That kind of wear and tear each year usually shows up late in the season. I think they have to monitor his innings to get the best value out of him right now. Reed is just a work in progress. Keeping his confidence high and his breaking ball functional is the main job of Don Cooper and bullpen coach Juan Nieves.

Matt (Boston)

Mustaches?

Bruce Levine
  (1:45 PM)

All the mustaches are a tribute to their batting practice pitcher Kevin Hickey. The team dedicated the batting cages to Hickey, who passed away on May 16. Hickey had kind of a thin mustache. So all the White Sox are trying to grow one to honor his memory.

Zack (Ann Arbor)

Down the line, what happens to Barney? Does he get traded when Baez makes it to the big leagues (assuming they'll play either him or Castro at 2B)? Does Almora become a 3B? An IF of Almora, Castro, Baez and Rizzo could be huge down the line

Bruce Levine
  (1:48 PM)

Right now Almora is a centerfielder. I haven't heard anything about a position change for him. Barney's OPS is not exactly what the Cubs front office looks for in a player. However, he does have some intangibles like great leadership. Sveum and his staff have recognized that Barney is a winning-type of player even with a mediocre batting average and low OBP> He kind of fits into that David Eckstein/Craig Counsell type player. And those guys had long careers on good ball clubs because of the intangibles.

Steve (memphis, tn)

Just wondering how jared mitchell is doing. Is he going to make a leap next year to the majors?

Bruce Levine
  (1:50 PM)

He is still very high in the eyes of the organization. But keep your eyes on Tracye Thompson. He's highly though of in the organization. Orlando Hudson said he is a very impressive player after spending some time with him while he rehabbed in AAA.

Bruce Levine
  (1:51 PM)

Follow me on Twitter @ESPNBruceLevine and Doug Padilla @ESPNChiCubs for all the latest news. Thanks for all the questions!

Bruce Levine
  (1:51 PM)

Follow me on Twitter @ESPNBruceLevine and Doug Padilla @ESPNChiCubs for all the latest news. Thanks for all the questions!