3/28 Cubs 2, Indians 0
What went right:
Jeff Samardzija may have secured a spot in the rotation on Wednesday. The right-hander, making his last start before the Cubs staff meets to finalize the rotation, gave up three hits and walked one over six scoreless innings while striking out five. He was tested as the Indians stacked their lineup with left-handed hitters with the exception of Russ Canzler and Aaron Cunningham. Samardzija, who has two hits in his young Major League career, also tripled to lead off the Chicago fifth but was stranded.
Bryan LaHair and Joe Mather delivered consecutive RBI singles in the sixth. LaHair now is 12-for-26 in his last seven games.
What went wrong:
Home plate umpire Kerwin Danley needed a little help on a pop up by Mather in the fourth. The ball bounced off the chairs the Cubs coaching staff sits on near the dugout but Indians catcher Carlos Santana acted as if he’d caught it, and Mather was called out. Maybe they should consider instant replay in Spring Training?
“I really learned a lot over the past five Spring Trainings. Being a young guy, you’ve got to come into camp like spring is the season. Unless you’ve got a six-year deal and eight years in the big leagues, nothing is for sure in camp. I didn’t take anything for granted this year. I was out here early, did the same last year, and I wanted to be ready to go for camp so I knew whatever happened, I left it all out there and was ready to go for camp.” — Jeff Samardzija
Marcos Mateo continues to rehab from right elbow soreness. He will not be ready for Opening Day.
This and that:
* Manager Dale Sveum and his staff met after Wednesday’s game to go over the roster. There are still 40 players in camp, including 20 pitchers. They need to get down to 25 players (12 pitchers) by Opening Day, which is one week from Thursday. Expect announcements on Thursday regarding the rotation, backup catcher. It may take a few more games to decide on the final bullpen spots.
* Kerry Wood is slated to pitch Thursday. It’s been his plan to cut back on Cactus League innings to prepare for the regular season.
Chris Volstad will make his fourth Cactus League start on Thursday when the Cubs travel to Peoria to face the Padres. So far, Volstad has given up one run on seven hits over 10 innings and not walked a batter. He was stretched out in a Minor League outing five days ago, throwing 85 pitches. The game will be broadcast on Cubs.com.
– Carrie Muskat