4/24 Reds 1, Cubs 0
What’s a little blood to a former football player? Jeff Samardzija shrugged off a cut finger, suffered in the first inning, but couldn’t stop Todd Frazier who belted a solo home run to lift the Reds to a 1-0 victory Wednesday over the Cubs. Samardzija (1-4) cut the index finger on his right hand trying to grab Shin-Soo Choo’s ball in the first. Cubs manager Dale Sveum and athletic trainer PJ Mainville went out to check on Samardzija after home plate umpire Jordan Baker noticed some blood.
“It got compressed a little bit and a little baby cut,” Samardzija said, downplaying the injury. “It was a little interesting. It wasn’t so much the feel of it but more so the liquid coming out of it than anything else. They let me pitch, which was good. Everything physically was fine. It was more aesthetic than anything else.”
In the second, Samardzija didn’t appear to have any problems as the Great American Ball Park radar gun registered his fastball at 98 mph. He fanned eight over six innings, and now has 39 strikeouts this month, good for seventh place on the team’s all-time list for most Ks in the month of April. Matt Garza fanned 51 in April 2011 for the team high.
Samardzija almost tried to make another bare-handed grab of Choo’s ball in the fifth but pulled back at the last minute.
“‘Almost’ is the key word there,” Samardzija said.
“I’m sure he learned his lesson,” Sveum said.
Samardzija said the injury wasn’t a distraction. He dashed off the field quickly after each inning so Mainville could work on it. Samardzija didn’t wear a batting glove on his right hand to avoid aggravating it. Sveum kept an eye on his starter but didn’t need to pull him.
“He was pretty sharp,” Sveum said. “There were no worries there.”
— Carrie Muskat