3/6 Samardzija gets work in

Jeff Samardzija threw 66 pitches over four innings in a “B” game on the backfield against the Rangers and survived.

“They like to hit the fastball in the Minor Leagues,” said Samardzija, who served up a home run among the six hits.

His slider, which was “garbage” in his last outing, was “very good today.”

“It’s really hard to evaluate this,” he said of the workout. “You just want to get your pitch count up, work on your routine a little bit, and have a little bit of fun out there, to tell you the truth.”

The Rangers had called the Cubs and asked if they could provide a squad for a “B” game. Samardzija drew the short straw for the long, early drive.

“Situations like that, you can work on one certain aspect, work out of the stretch,” he said. “You can kind of control the environment a little more.”

Named the Opening Day starter, Samardzija said the good thing is he knows when he’ll be pitching — April 1 vs. the Pirates.

“I’ve just been keeping an eye on that date, and making sure all my pitches and windup and stretch and all the little things are right where they need to be for that date,” he said. “It just changes things a little with the lead-up to it. You know what the intensity of that game will be. You just take it easy and not let your emotions build up over the next few weeks.”

— Carrie Muskat

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