3/8 Sveum: Samardzija is “manager’s dream”

Jeff Samardzija is going to make the Cubs’ decision making much tougher. The right-hander is vying for a spot in the rotation and had an impressive three-inning outing on Wednesday against the Royals.

“For a power arm, I can’t remember the last time I’ve seen a power arm like that come into Spring Training and everything’s been that crisp,” Dale Sveum said Thursday. “He doesn’t throw any scuds, everything is at least somewhere where he wants it to be. His cutter was tremendous. It was almost a waste of his time to drive an hour. It’s like he didn’t even break a sweat, he was that good. It’s an interesting dilemma we’ll be in here in a few weeks.”

That’s because the Cubs have two openings in the rotation but several candidates. Plus, Samardzija was a key piece of the bullpen last season. If he’s in the rotation, they need to fill his spot in the ‘pen. The other starting candidates include Travis Wood, Rodrigo Lopez, Randy Wells and Chris Volstad, who pitched on Thursday.

Samardzija arrived early in Arizona before pitchers had to report and Sveum said the right-hander is “built to go 220, 230 innings.”

“It’s a manager’s dream to have somebody like that,” he said.

It was just one outing, so it’s too early to say Samardzija has locked up a spot.

“We just know there’s competition between five, six, seven guys for the two spots,” Sveum said. “Three weeks from now, it’ll be an interesting decision.”

— Carrie Muskat

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