3/17 Samardzija fave for rotation
Jeff Samardzija appears to be the favorite among the candidates for the Cubs rotation. The right-hander had his third strong start on Saturday against the Rangers, giving up one run on three hits and striking out three over four innings. He faced the minimum in the first three innings. Samardzija is vying for one of two spots along with Chris Volstad, Rodrigo Lopez, Travis Wood and Randy Wells.
“Obviously, they’ll make their decisions based on what they feel is best for the team,” Samardzija said. “I feel like I’ve accomplished what I wanted to show in camp and obviously we still have a ways to go. I had to come in and show I wasn’t going to give any free bases and attack the zone and I feel I’ve been doing that. When you do that, you see what happens today, and you get quick outs. Then when you do get in trouble, you still have the pitches to work with and your pitch count isn’t up and you know you can battle and get on to the next inning. I’m happy and it’ll be interesting to go through the lineup a couple times. I’m right where I want to be.”
The Rangers scored their one run off him in the fourth as Elvis Andrus singled, reached third on Julio Borbon’s single and scored on Josh Hancock’s single.
Samardzija was used strictly in relief last season but has made it clear he wants to start. The Cubs have to be encouraged that the right-hander has not walked a batter in 10 innings this spring. What if Samardzija was told he was going to the bullpen?
“I like to think of myself as a team guy and I’m going to do what’s best for the team,” he said. “If they tell me it’s not best for the team to be in the lineup, I’d like to hear the rest of the argument and the reasons why. I feel you build from the front to the back and not the back to the front. I hope I’ve shown them enough and I hope I continue to show them not only do we want this guy, but we need this guy in the rotation. That’s what my job is here in camp and I feel we’re making strides in that direction.”
— Carrie Muskat