10/9 Samardzija to start in Mexico

Jeff Samardzija didn’t get much of an offseason. The right-hander was scheduled to start Friday night for Mexicali against Hermosillo in the Mexican League opener. Iowa manager Bobby Dickerson is the Mexicali skipper, and Samardzija will have three other Cubs Minor Leaguers on the roster in Brian Schlitter, Matt Camp and Brad Snyder.

Samardzija’s last start for the Cubs on Oct. 1 was rained out. The right-hander gave up three runs over three innings before nature intervened. He finished 1-3 with a 7.53 ERA in 20 games, including two starts.

“The kid needs to pitch Winter Ball,” Lou Piniella said after Samardzija’s last outing. “He’s on the right path. He just needs to work on the things he’s working on and get more consistent with it and Winter Ball will give him that opportunity.”

The right-hander is a candidate for a spot in the Cubs’ rotation in 2010.

— Carrie Muskat

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