White Sox

SportsTalk Live Podcast: White Sox get a big come-from-behind win thanks to José Abreu

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USA TODAY

SportsTalk Live Podcast: White Sox get a big come-from-behind win thanks to José Abreu

David Haugh, Jim Litke and Luke Stuckmeyer join David Kaplan on the panel.

0:00- The White Sox get a big come-from-behind win thanks to José Abreu. With signs of light at the end of rebuilding tunnel, should the Sox go for wins now or continue to focus on the future? The panel debates.

15:00- Will Perdue joins the panel to preview NBA free agency and who the Bulls should target when it all begins Sunday.

Listen to the full episode in the embedded player below:

Sports Talk Live Podcast

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Here comes Kimbrel: Closer expected to join Cubs Thursday

Here comes Kimbrel: Closer expected to join Cubs Thursday

Here comes Craig Kimbrel.

Cubs fans can get used to hearing those words, as the closer is on his way to Chicago, the team confirmed Wednesday evening.

Kimbrel wrapped up his minor-league rehab stint with a scoreless outing Tuesday and is expected to be activated ahead of Thursday's homestand finale against the Atlanta Braves, the team he began his career with.

There is no word yet on what the corresponding roster move will be, as the Cubs have a very tough decision on their hands. Unless a trade or injury pops up, the move very well might be sending rookie Adbert Alzolay back down to the minor leagues. 

The Cubs have been operating with a six-man rotation recently, with Alzolay making his first big-league start Tuesday night as a part of that. But that's also left the bullpen a bit short-handed, featuring six veterans who are either out of minor-league options or on big-league deals and cannot be sent down:

Pedro Strop
Steve Cishek
Brandon Kintzler
Brad Brach
Mike Montgomery
Tony Barnette

The same applies for the entire rotation outside of Alzolay.

The Cubs could send down Kyle Ryan, but he's their only true left-hander out of the bullpen (Montgomery mostly serves as a long man) and he's been pitching a lot better of late (2.08 ERA in June). 

Alzolay, of course, hasn't done anything worthy of a demotion, either. In his two outings in the big leagues over the last week, he's put up a 2.08 ERA and 0.92 WHIP while striking out 9 batters and permitting only 2 hits in 8.2 innings.

The Cubs haven't made any set plans for Alzolay's next outing, but Joe Maddon admitted it could come in the minor leagues. 

The organization also wants to be careful with his workload, as he pitched only 39.2 innings a year ago due to injury. He's already thrown 44.2 innings this year.

"Of course you want to keep him on a schedule," Maddon said. "We're talking this all the way through — he can do it here, he might have to do it somewhere else. We're not sure yet. But you also have to be mindful of the innings that he's pitching this year based on what kind of a jump you want him to endure this year. 

"There's a lot of different components about these discussions specifically. Definitely showing you that he can pitch here. No question he can pitch here. But now we have to figure out how to put him in the mix in a way that's beneficial to him and us. We're not done discussing that, but it's possible both ways."

The Cubs could also send a position player down and roll with a 14-man pitching staff for a little while, but that would leave them with a very limited bench (only two players and the backup catcher).

The Cubs will have other roster crunch decisions to make in the near future as both Kyle Hendricks and Carl Edwards Jr. are recovering from their respective injuries.

Both right-handers threw a bullpen at Wrigley Field Wednesday and progressing toward a return.