3/7 Cubs 6, Royals 4
What went right:
It’s only one game but Jeff Samardzija made a strong case for a spot in the rotation. He struck out three and faced the minimum over three innings against the Royals. Samardzija did give up a bloop single to Chris Getz, but he was thrown out trying to steal second. The Cubs took advantage of three Royals errors in the first to take a 4-0 lead. Reed Johnson, Bryan LaHair and Starlin Castro each had two hits, and the Cubs totaled four stolen bases.
What went wrong:
Castro committed his first error this spring. Jeff Beliveau gave up two runs on four hits in the ninth.
“For me, that topic has been a roller coaster. There are times when I don’t mind it at all and I have fun with it and there are times when it really cuts to me. I felt I made that decision for the right reasons, from my heart that’s what I wanted to do is play baseball. I never felt I had or I needed to defend myself. I felt that people didn’t understand it was for the right reason. The truth is, you have to prove to them it’s the right reason. That’s what I’m trying to do. I’m trying to be the Cubs pitcher and not the former Notre Dame football player.”
— Samardzija on how he now can joke about football
Chris Volstad makes his first start Thursday when the Cubs play host to the Mariners at HoHoKam Park. Game time is 2:05 p.m. CT and fans can listen on Cubs.com. Volstad, acquired from the Marlins for Carlos Zambrano, has been working on his grip and mechanics with former Cubs pitcher Rick Sutcliffe, a guest instructor in camp. Expect regulars like Marlon Byrd and David DeJesus back in the lineup.
Jason Jaramillo isn’t close to getting on the field because of problems with his legs. Dale Sveum said it appears the backup catcher’s job will be a battle between Welington Castillo and Steve Clevenger.
— Carrie Muskat