2/24 Samardzija bids for Opening Day

Matt Garza has yet to resume baseball activities and Edwin Jackson won’t make his first Cactus League start until Tuesday. Jeff Samardzija wants everyone healthy and competing before Cubs manager Dale Sveum picks his Opening Day starter.

“I haven’t had that conversation at all,” Samardzija said Sunday after his first Cactus League start. “We’re still waiting to see what happens with ‘Garz’ and how he comes along. They know where I stand on it and how I feel.

“It’s nice to have a few guys who are capable of doing it,” he said. “Hopefully, it gets decided on the field instead of the training room. It’s more important to have ‘Garz’ ready for one of those first five games than rush him along. He’s a key part to this team and we all know that. It’s more important that he’s ready for Opening Day than start one or two here in Spring Training.”

Garza is sidelined with a strained left lat, suffered Feb. 17 during his live batting practice session. He has yet to resume baseball activities.

Samardzija, who gave up one run on three hits over two innings against the Giants on Sunday, wants the Opening Day assignment.

“It’s good as an athlete to see your hard work pay off,” Samardzija said. “Ultimately, that’s what it comes down to. All these dudes in this locker room, everybody works their tail off to be as good as they want to be. When you start getting results like I had last year and things like this, it starts to snowball. I want to keep that good momentum going and we’ll see what happens.”

— Carrie Muskat

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