Ask Paul Sullivan

Ask Paul resurfaces to answer questions about the possibility of a Jeff Samardzija sighting at Wrigley Field, moving Alfonso Soriano down in the order, and whether the Cubs should bring back Sammy Sosa for the playoff push.

Does Jeff Samardzija have a chance at a September call-up? He seems to be pitching well in the minors now and they could use another late-inning power pitcher. --Mike, Chicago Heights

Nothing would surprise me and he's definitely on the fast track. But promoting Samardzija, who struggled at Class-A Daytona before winning his first three starts at Double-A Tennessee, would seem to be a stretch. I think he'll get another invite to spring training and perhaps get a chance to win a job next year. No need to rush him up in one year when he's still learning on the job. But he did sign for $10 million, and perhaps the Cubs want to get the most out of their money.

When Alfonso Soriano gets back, why don't they try to bat him in between Derrek Lee and Aramis Ramirez? Won't he be protected by both of them and likely see just as many fastballs as in the leadoff position? --Steve, Oceanside, Calif.

Sounds like a good idea, especially with Ryan Theriot hitting so well in the leadoff spot. But Lou Piniella repeatedly has said Soriano will lead off when he returns, so it's not something I would anticipate happening. He seems most comfortable there, though if he can't run well it does make sense to hit him third instead of first.

After another game of double digit strikeouts and lack of hitting by the Cubs, why am I getting that feeling that the Cubs have already made their run? --Greg, Suffolk, Va.

Because you're a Cubs fan and they always look at the glass as being half-empty. The Cubs do have some high strikeout guys, but they're starting to hit some home runs now, so it's a give-and-take situation. If you want more power, you're going to have to live with some strikeouts. I don't think the Cubs have made their run yet. When Soriano returns, they'll finally have the lineup the way Piniella wants it for the stretch run.

Doesn't Rich Hill remind you of "bad luck" Matt Clement? No run support and many no-decisions. --Mike Sherman, Springfield, Ill.

Not really. He's just a kid, and with his stuff he'll be a 20-game winner down the road. True, he is last in the NL in run support, but I think overall he's got more potential than Matt Clement, who wasn't so bad himself, especially back in 2003, before the arm problems. Now if Rich Hill could only grow the Matt Clement goateeĀ…

With the use of five-pitcher rotation and 12-man pitching staff apparently replacing the 10, it seems there should an adjustment in the 25-man roster rules. Maybe not in the number, but in the number of options/waiver rules. Smaller number of bench players seems to increase the frequency of using the 40-man roster. Baseball has changed a number of rules over the years, and the five-man rotation has made a significant change in the use of options. --John Marcoot, Bethesda, Md.

I don't think baseball needs to change the rules on options. Look at the Cubs, who have had a steady rotation since Sean Marshall was recalled to replace Wade Miller. Hendry has done a good job of juggling kids up and down to suit the Cubs' needs. If it ain't broke, don't fix it.

Hi Paul, do you think the Cubs can use Sammy Sosa Now? He does lead the Rangers in home runs and RBIs. As a matter of fact doesn't he have more RBI's than anyone on the Cubs, including both Soriano and Lee? He can come for cheap. --Isreal, Gambrills, Md.

Now that Will Ohman is gone, Sammy's old locker could be available, as well as the one that was reserved for Sammy's boom box. But don't hold your breath. Sammy is not coming back to Chicago. This town is just not ready for Sammy II, and neither is Jim Hendry, for that matter, even if they shook hands in spring training.

Paul, after listening to Joe Morgan on Sunday Night Baseball, I was wondering who you consider to be the best and worst announcers in baseball? --Chris Charnas, Northfield, Ill.

From watching the Extra Innings package, I've heard a lot of broadcasters I'd never had a chance to hear before, and most of them sound exactly alike. For me, Vin Scully remains the best, followed closely by Jon Miller, John Rooney and Bob Uecker. Al Leiter is a great color man on the YES Network, and I also like Jerry Remy on NESN and Joe Girardi on Fox. There are also a lot of bad ones whose names I don't know, but I do hit the mute button whenever I hear Rick Sutcliffe, who actually said on an ESPN broadcast when Bonds hit 756 that Washington's Manny Acta was the frontrunner for NL Manager of the Year.

Dear, Paul, now that You-Know-Who is back pitching with the Cubs, can we ask questions about him again? I promise never to ask a question about You-Know-Who-Else. --Robert Schroeder, Ithaca, N.Y.

Yes, Kerry Wood is back so it's OK to ask questions about him again, but you-know-who-else is still a subject we won't be addressing until 2008.

Thanks for all the relevant questions, and we'll return next week, weather permitting.

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