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March 19, 1:00 PM ET
Chat with Bruce Levine

Bruce Levine
  (1:06 PM)

Baker and Stewart will start season on DL. Baker going back to see team doctors after MRI revealed a problem in his elbow. Stewart still having trouble with hamstring. Sox all about Danks today. Welcome.

Max H (Germany)

Hey Bruce! Is Beckham destined to hit in the 9 hole again? If so, how does he feel about it?

Bruce Levine
  (1:07 PM)

Last few days hittnig second and is slotted at 2 today. Going to have to prove he can make more consistent contact to get moved up. Keppinger will be No. 2 hitter to start season.

Pistol Pete (Milwaukee, WI)

The Cub's Ian Stewart is not the answer at 3rd base and I'm not sure Valbuana is either. What can the Cubs do to shore up this position. What about trading Marmol for Detroit's Nick Castellanos?

Bruce Levine
  (1:08 PM)

Castellanos is Detroit's top prospect. Detroit has not been interested in Marmol.

Mick (South Bend, IN)

Has Robin given any indication yet on the lineup? Rios-Konerko-Dunn 3-4-5?

Bruce Levine
  (1:09 PM)

You would think so but Rios hasn't been around in 2 weeks, as he's playing in the WBC. Neither has De Aza. I'd say their best lineup as Rios batting third and Dunn and Konerko interchangeable at 4-5.

John (Anchorage, AK)

What are the chances that Soriano and/or Marmol will be moved before the season and potential destinations? Thanks and love the chats!

Bruce Levine
  (1:10 PM)

I don' think either will be dealt. The Cubs are fairly decimated with their rotatoin and lineupi. Soriano important run producer. Bullpen will be key with rotation pitchers not reayd to start season.

Mick (South Bend, IN)

Bruce, is Keppinger still the front runner for 3B and is he finally fully healthy again?

Bruce Levine
  (1:11 PM)

We'll know more today when he plays the position for the first time in 10 days. He had a sore shoulder and had some personal days.

Paul (Denver, CO)

Bruce, has Rusin won himself an opening day roster spot?

Bruce Levine
  (1:11 PM)

He has moved up the charts. Dale has talked about the fact Rusin has a good opportunity ahead of him.

Mick (South Bend, IN)

Bruce, have you talked to Sale since he was named Opening Day starter? What has he said about officially getting the nod?

Bruce Levine
  (1:12 PM)

Very excited and humbled by opportunity. Said his knees were shaking just by idea of it.

Alan (West Loop)

Hey Bruce, I've noticed that some of the plate discipline and patience displayed to start ST by the Cubs seems to have evaporated (seeing/hearing a lot of 1st pitch swinging strikes, bad strikeouts, etc)...I know it's Spring, but should I be concerned?

Bruce Levine
  (1:14 PM)

You don't change a guy's approach with a couple of ST at-bats. Castro is going to be concentrating on hitting better counts. Barney had more walks last year than in previous two. They preach plate discipline but don't want to alter guy's approach as far as changing aggressiveness. I think the best at-bats you'll see this year are from Rizzo.

John N (West Loop)

What type of impact, if any, can John Danks have this year?

Bruce Levine
  (1:17 PM)

We'll know more after today's start. His arm strength isn't there yet, but he hasn't had a setback.

Ross Wahoo NE [via mobile]

I will be at Wrigley opening day for the first time. Anything that is a must do?

Bruce Levine
  (1:19 PM)

Morning in Wrigleyville on Opening Day is as good as it gets. Start at 7 a.m. and enjoy yourself. And listen to our shows to find out where our remoted will be and stop by.

Pete (Woodridge)

Cubs pitching this spring hasn't been great, shaky young arms. Do you think the Theo/Jed strategy will need to shift from rehabs to more recent quality displays? More EJax, less Feldman/Baker? Hard to be competitive when you sign starters that you have no idea if they are going to recover.

Bruce Levine
  (1:20 PM)

The Cubs are doing a lot of things on speculation. They gambled on Stewart and Baker. Money wise, it wasn't a big deal but depth wise there's concern. The Cubs are not in the mode to win a championship at this point. They are building their inventory.

John N (West Loop)

Do you think De Aza and Rios playing in the WBC will help both of them get off to quick starts this year?

Bruce Levine
  (1:21 PM)

I think that's a good point. They are probably more game ready than any of their teammates. Not only from a perspective of innings played but from the intensity of those game. I like the way you're thinking.

Paul (Denver, CO)

Bruce, where do you see Baez starting the season?

Bruce Levine
  (1:21 PM)

Here's the plan from what I know. He'll start at High-A Daytona, and the assumption is if he does well he'll quickly ascend to Class-AA Tennessee.

John N (West Loop)

Tyler Flowers is finally getting his shot behind the plate this year. What is a realistic expectation offensively for Tyler Flowers this season?

Bruce Levine
  (1:22 PM)

He has to stay healthy. He's been troubled by back spasms lately. Defensively he'll be improvement over A.J. Game-calling we'll have to wait and see. If he hits .250 he'll be very productive.

Alan (Aurora) [via mobile]

With the possibility of Scott Baker being injured what are the possibilities the Cubs look outside the organization for help especially since Carlos Villanueva has struggled all spring

Bruce Levine
  (1:23 PM)

Sveum said the team will look at the waiver wires and the opportunity for pitchers like Rusin are there. He's pitched extremely well this spring.

Deano (Round Lake Beach)

Could the 2013 Sox compare with the 2005 Sox ? Could the 2013 Tigers compare with their 2006ish team that was thought to score something like 1000 runs and fell flat on their faces? Hope either comparison fits. thank you.

Bruce Levine
  (1:24 PM)

The Tigers had two important players added to the team taht won the pennant in Torii Hunter and Victor Martinez. Barring injury they could have a monster season. The only question with the Tigers is their bullpen.

DC (PA)

Better value: Jackson, 29, 70-71 record $52M or Sanchez, 29, 48-51 record $80M?

Bruce Levine
  (1:25 PM)

Just depends on competition level. Will Jackson be a good pitcher on a bad team and will Sanchez be a good pitcher on a great team.

ESPNChicago.com
  (1:26 PM)

Sorry, Bruce had to step away for a couple minutes. Busy day in Arizona. He'll back shortly. Thank you for your patience.

Adam (Madison)

Does Clevenger make the roster? Seems useful to have a lefty who can play C & 1B

Bruce Levine
  (1:31 PM)

You already have a left-handed first baseman and that doesn't solve any problems. Clevenger will be at Triple-AAA, meanwhile Brent Lillibridge will be a very important player on this team. He'll be a back-up first baseman and a platoon third baseman with Valbuena, according to Sveum.

Gary (Chicago)

Where does Dave Sappelt fit in the Cubs 2013 and future lineup? Could he possibly become an everyday outfielder?

Bruce Levine
  (1:32 PM)

He looks like he'll be the right-handed OF off the bench, along with Hairston. Lillibridge also can be looked at as backup OF. Sappelt has had a very strong late spring training.

skip (aurora)

konerko has probably out-performed his projected results based on age the last few years. is this the year he regresses to the mean?

Bruce Levine
  (1:33 PM)

I really think the opposite if he stays healthy. He's reported in maybe the best condition of his career. He appears to be a guy on a mission to prove his career is not over.

Paul (St. Louis)

Bruce, are you still hearing some teams are interested in Marmol? I doubt they get much back, but they may be needing the roster spot.

Bruce Levine
  (1:34 PM)

Right now there's no movement in Marmol area. Originally I reported Detroit was watching him, but someone from their team told me they were not interested. Other teams that may need closers are Boston, Toronto and the Angels.

Dan (Chicago)

It appears that Lillibridge could provide some assistance in a utility role for the Cubs. In what way do you think he could contribute the most to the Chicago Cubs roster?

Bruce Levine
  (1:35 PM)

I'd say as a 400-500 at-bat guy off the bench. Staff has been impressed with him defensively at every position. Keep in mind he's not even on the 40-man roster right now. Sveum said today pretty much that's guaranteed a spoit.

Mark (Winston Salem, NC)

How come we all talk about how good the White Sox starting pitchers are, but in all the fantasy drafts that I have been in, only Sale is picked early and then Peavy in mid rounds and that's basically it. Are the Sox really that good in starting pitching?

Bruce Levine
  (1:36 PM)

Some things will have to be proved for a second year. Quintana will have to show he's the pitcher of the first half of last year and not hte second half. Floyd and Danks will have to stay healthy.

Joe (Kansas)

Have you heard if Baker or Garza is going to started on the 15 day DL or the 60 day DL?

Bruce Levine
  (1:37 PM)

Haven't heard either but good question we'll ask when we find out results of Baker's MRI. Today Sveum said he thinks Garza will be back by May 1.

Anthony (Chicago)

Nobody wants to sign Ryan Theriot? Has he priced himself out of the market? Why not bring him in to play 3rd?

Bruce Levine
  (1:38 PM)

Theriot is definitely a professional player who will fit somewhere. It's not a bad suggestion.

Matt (Chicago)

If Beckham has yet another slow start to the season offensively, how short of a leash will he be on with Gillespies left bat at 3rd and the possibility of moving Keppinger to 2B?

Bruce Levine
  (1:38 PM)

Those two things are not going to happen. Only threat to Beckham is Carlos Sanchez. He'll be everday 2b at Triple-A.

DC (PA)

Why isn't someone interested in Marmol given 2nd half last year and decent ST?

Bruce Levine
  (1:39 PM)

Lot of people believe he's back to where he was 2 years ago, which means they don't think he can dominate people with his slider. I presonally feel he's better now than he has been in last three years because he established a new pitch in a two-seam fastball.

Anthony (Chicago)

Do the Cubs have any interest in Dice-K? He will probably come inexpensive and fits the bill as a pitcher to flip. Lets be honest we need some major league pitchers at the moment.

Bruce Levine
  (1:40 PM)

Not a lot of quality pitchers out there to obtain with 10 days left to Opening Day. Cubs may be better off gonig with their young pitchers rather than former, burnt out experienced pitchers.

Joe (Minooka)

If danks is healthy do the sox start taking offers for gavin floyd

Bruce Levine
  (1:42 PM)

Not yet. I believe Floyd will be with the team till July and maybe all the way depending on where they're at pennant race wise. Too many things can happen to trade away veteran pitching depth.

Jeff Reith (Northlake)

Bruce, so whenever the time is right and Baez is brought up, who moves to third base? And who stays at shortstop? And finally can the Cubs contend with only one powr htter at a corner infield position?

Bruce Levine
  (1:43 PM)

Baez has some work to do at short but he has good ability. Right now you have a SS who's been an All-Star two years straight. Sveum said Castro has been the most improved defensive player he saw in 2nd half last year. Can never have too many good SS in an organization. They're most athlete and move to another position shouldn't be that difficult.

Jack (Chicago)

Do you think Takahashi will make the team as another lefty reliever?

Bruce Levine
  (1:44 PM)

With the Cubs' pitching attrition, good possibility he's in bullpen. Cubs need a second lefty. Question is will Rusin start in pen or be at Triple-A starting every five days.

Die Hard Dan (Nashville, TN)

Is there any way the Cubs buy out Ian Stewart's contract and release him?

Bruce Levine
  (1:45 PM)

They can release him by end of this month and only have to pay 25 percent of contract. That is not the plan. He'll start the season on the DL.

Bernie (Milwaukee)

In your opinion will John Danks make his projected opening start on April 3rd against KC?

Bruce Levine
  (1:46 PM)

Ask me after today's start and I'll give you direct answer.

Brian (Decatur)

Morel to AAA. He looked really good in Spring Training where his counterparts did not. What is the idea there?

Bruce Levine
  (1:47 PM)

No room at the Inn. Starting 3b is Keppinger. Morel needs to play every day. They might move Morel between 3b, 1b and SS and make him more valuable when he returns.

Dan (Colorado)

Bruuuuuuce,Who will be the late season call-ups besides Jackson? Will it all depend on who is traded by that point?Gracias Amigo

Bruce Levine
  (1:48 PM)

They would like to project Jackson by June or July. They hope he trends same way as Rizzo did last season. That would also be nice carrot for organzation and fan base. Doesn't depend on trade. If he plays well he comes up.

John N (West Loop)

Viciedo showed signs last year of being the super star type of player the sox are hoping he can be. What does he need to do this year to show the sox he is the real deal?

Bruce Levine
  (1:48 PM)

Learn to drive the ball to right-center more. Has as much power as any hitter in majors gonig that way. With young playres someimtes takes a while to get confident to use whole field.He's my pick to click this year.

Jamie (Wicker Park)

Should we worry that both DeAza and Rios have not looked good at the plate in the WBC?

Bruce Levine
  (1:49 PM)

No because they're going up against tremendous pitching ready to compete whereas their teammates are facing good pitching for 1 or 2 at-bats here and there. Not a good video log or info on some einternational pitchers.

Tom (Southern California)

Bruce, what do you think of the idea of moving Josh Vitters to left field and Junior Lake to third base. I don't see Vitters as a major league third baseman. Maybe, Vitters can be a Ryan Braun but with less offense. I'm not saying he will hit like Braun but play a decent left field.

Bruce Levine
  (1:50 PM)

It's a good suggestion. At this point, the Cubs are not confident he's a 3b of the future. But you are right about one thing, he's hit at every level he's played at.

Ben ( Chicago) [via mobile]

Hi Bruce. Who would possibly have a better (fantasy) year of these two matchups? Rizzo or konerko? And soriano or viciedo

Bruce Levine
  (1:51 PM)

I would say Konerko and Viciedo.

Jim (Michigan)

I realize the Cubs are still short on talent, but are they developing players to learn how to hit the cutoff man, throw strikes, run the bases properly, hit behind the runner, take pitches -- you know, the kind of things that MLB winners do?

Bruce Levine
  (1:52 PM)

They have new minor league instructors if that's what you're asking. Also have a new manual that minor league players and coaches are supposed to adhere to as far as technique. These are are elements added by Epstein and Hoyer.

Jay (Chicago)

Do you see any players being released by another team that the Cubs would have interest in?

Bruce Levine
  (1:53 PM)

No, but I know the Cubs are out there looking for extra pitching and a guy that can play infield and outfield like Lillibridge.

shane (rhode island) [via mobile]

Hey bruce, would like to get your take on this....over/under for schierholtz .260/13/50...and sori .240/25/80

Bruce Levine
  (1:53 PM)

I would say even on Schierholtz. And over on Soriano.

David (Chicago) [via mobile]

Bruce, how likely is it that the Cubs draft Appel? He is the most ML ready pitcher in the draft, right?

Bruce Levine
  (1:54 PM)

There are some young lefties they're also very interested in. I wouldn't say Appel is automatic.

Dave (Miami, FL)

Bruce, the Cubs are biding their time, but is there a chance we go after Cano or Wainwright come next offseason? That would sure accelerate the rebuilding process- and the money should be there for a big signing, am I wrong?

Bruce Levine
  (1:54 PM)

Not wrong, but you'd have to convince the championship caliber players that your team is ready to win. They might hesitate to come to a team still rebuilding.

Edmund vancouver washington [via mobile]

Im concerned about john danks arm i know you cant judge performance based on spring training games but do you believe theres a reason to be concerned

Bruce Levine
  (1:55 PM)

He's pitching today. There have been no setbacks, but his arm strength is not where it needs to be yet. Sox won't force him into rotation.

Shaun (Office )

Hey Bruce, What Sox players have impressed you the most during spring training?

Bruce Levine
  (1:56 PM)

Konerko has been impressive. I really like Carlos Sanchez is coming along. He's one to watch.

Dan (Minnesota)

What do you expect of the Blue Jays this year? Should we expect to see them perform like the Marlins did last year after many moves or will they compete?

Bruce Levine
  (1:57 PM)

Always dangerous when you add a ton of veteran talent who have never played together and expect them to mesh. Look what happened to Dodgers last year after adding Crawford, Beckett and Gonzalez. ONly time will tell.

firstag77 (Beloit)

Do you think if the price is right and with all the rotation injuries, that the Cubs will sign Lohse to a 3 year deal?

Bruce Levine
  (1:58 PM)

Doesn't appear to be the right player for the Cubs. Boras will try to get him to a team that's contendnig this year.

Bruce Levine
  (1:59 PM)

Follow me on ESPNBruceLevine and Jesse Rogers on ESPNChiCubs and Doug Padilla on ESPNChiSox for breaking news from spring training.