3/28 Samardzija looks sharp

Jeff Samardzija may have locked up a spot in the Cubs rotation. He threw six scoreless innings Wednesday against the Indians in a 2-0 Chicago victory and also showed his speed when he hit a triple.

“I feel great and obviously, we’ll see what happens, but I’m not too worried about it,” Samardzija said after the outing, in which he gave up three hits, one walk and struck out five.

It was a good effort after his last start against the Rockies when he was roughed up for seven runs on 10 hits over four innings. The Rockies had loaded the lineup with lefties in that game and so did the Indians. The difference? He threw more strikes and changed speeds. It worked.

“The last start, I was cruising through the whole spring and feeling great and I think that got to my head a little bit,” Samardzija said. “I was throwing instead of really making good pitches. Today, I slowed myself down and stepped off a couple times and took a deep breath and threw the pitch that me and [catcher Geovany Soto] felt was the best pitch.

“I think we were on the same page all day today, especially the latter three, four innings,” Samardzija said of his catcher. “I didn’t really shake him off that much. Geo and I were right where we needed to be.”

Now the question is whether Samardzija, 27, is right for the Cubs rotation. Ryan Dempster, Matt Garza and Paul Maholm are set and Chris Volstad appears to have locked up the other opening. That leaves Samardzija, Randy Wells, Rodrigo Lopez and Travis Wood fighting for one opening. Dale Sveum met with the rest of the staff and the front office after Wednesday’s game. Expect an announcement on Thursday.

— Carrie Muskat


Samardzija has earned the number 5 spot. Wells is long. Lopez is a swing guy and Wood will be at Iowa. Then again, no one from the Cubs front office has called for my opinion. I just want the pitching to work out. No ego, just results would be nice.

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One of the more optimistic stories coming out of spring training is the emergence of Samardzija as a starter and finally hitting his stride, just in time to fill the void left by Big Z. Between Samardzija and Volstad Hoystein should be in good shape to unload the over-rated Dempster by mid season. Of course Cubs optimism has been around for a century….let’s not throw out any grains of salt yet….

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