3/24 Sveum on Samardzija: “He learned a lesson”

Jeff Samardzija had a rough outing on Friday but Dale Sveum said he hoped it was a good learning experience for the right-hander, who appears to have secured a spot in the rotation. Samardzija gave up seven runs on 10 hits over four innings against the Rockies. He had given up three runs on six hits over 10 innings in his three previous Cactus League outings.

“He probably learned a lesson yesterday,” Sveum said. “You can’t throw 90 percent of all your pitches 91 miles an hour and above. You better have unbelievable location if you do that. Obviously, his location was not so good and up in the zone. It doesn’t matter how hard your cutter is or how hard you throw, if you’re up in the zone against big league hitters, it’s going to get hit. You’ve got to control bat speed and we really didn’t do that too well yesterday. It was hard, hard, hard, hard and the location is not there.”

Samardzija, who is challenging Travis Wood, Randy Wells, Rodrigo Lopez and Chris Volstad for one of two openings in the rotation, was expected to make at least two more starts this spring. Sveum has said he’ll finalize the rotation by Wednesday.

“It’s probably the best thing that happened to him, to tell you the truth, to understand that when we’re facing these big league lineups, I’ve got to do this, I’ve got to do this on a more consistent basis,” Sveum said of Samardzija’s outing Friday. “I’ve got to throw my slider for a strike, I’ve got to throw it for a strike early in the count, I’ve got to throw my split, I’ve got to use all my pitches. You can’t be three, four miles an hour on 90 percent of your pitches. Otherwise you have to have unbelievable location.”

— Carrie Muskat 

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