3/18 Samardzija close to securing spot

Jeff Samardzija appears to be close to locking up a spot in the Cubs rotation.

“Obviously, that lock’s getting a little closer and closer to being finalized,” Dale Sveum said Sunday, one day after Samardzija’s four innings against the Rangers. The right-hander gave up one run on three hits. He has not walked a batter over six innings this spring.

“It’s impressive and it’s what organization’s dream of — a 6-foot-6, 240-pound athlete on the mound who has four pitches with velocity,” Sveum said of Samardzija’s spring outings. “It’s impressive, there’s no doubt about it. I don’t think he’s doing anything we didn’t expect. The way he finished throwing the ball the last season, the mechanical changes he made, the confidence he gained. Now it’s just full force right now.”

Samardzija has about three starts remaining in Cactus League play. He’s also got competition from Chris Volstad, Rodrigo Lopez, Travis Wood, and Randy Wells for the two openings in the rotation. Wells will start in a “B”game on Monday against the Indians in Goodyear while Wood will face the Mariners in Peoria.

— Carrie Muskat


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