3/3 Samardzija gets Opening Day start
Cubs manager Dale Sveum named Jeff Samardzija the Opening Day starter on Sunday, saying the right-hander earned the job with his performance in his last start of the 2012 season. Samardzija clinched it with his last outing Sept. 8 against the Pirates when he threw his first complete game, giving up four hits and striking out nine. He knew that was his last game of the season because the Cubs had set an innings limit in his first season as a starter.
“He’s a guy who players rally around because of his work ethic, his bulldog mentality when he’s on the mound,” Sveum said. “It’s a very obvious choice, really.”
The right-hander has come a long way from his days as an All-America wide receiver at Notre Dame.
“He’s that guy — it’s game on when he’s pitching that day,” Sveum said. “The other four days, he’s a starting pitcher who doesn’t sit around for four days. He’s into every game, and picking his teammates up. He’s fallen into that leadership role as well.”
— Carrie Muskat