3/10 Samardzija just goes with the flow

Jeff Samardzija felt he controlled his tempo well, was able to mix his pitches the way he wanted, including his splitter, and took advantage of catcher Eli Whiteside’s background with the Giants. And no matter what he does, the Cubs’ right-hander’s name keeps popping up in trade rumors. Samardzija shrugs them off.

“Just going with the flow, man,” Samardzija said after throwing four solid innings against the Giants. “I’m out here pitching, and I’m really excited with how I feel for this season and where I’m at right now.

“I keep getting stronger and I really like how I approached this offseason with spacing it out and not throwing until a little later,” he said. “I feel like I’m peaking at the right time. I can’t control [rumors]. I”m just going to come out and pitch and keep doing my job and whatever happens will happen.”

There were plenty of scouts in the sellout crowd at Scottsdale Stadium. Samardzija’s name has been mentioned quite a bit. He’ll be a free agent after 2015, and a deal could produce a nice package of prospects for the Cubs. He’s heard the rumors.

“You’d be lying if you said things don’t cross your mind like that,” Samardzija said. “I’m human, and I have different thoughts throughout the day. Sometimes the uncertainty of the situation pops in my head, for sure. Ultimately, that’s just an excuse. I want to go out there and pitch and do my job with no excuses.

“I’m not about to come in and say my mind’s shaken because of this or that — it’s not going to happen,” he said. “I’m going to go out and do my job. If I win, I win, because I did that, and if I don’t win, it’s because I don’t perform up to the task. That’s how I look at it. I’m a very practical guy and it’s black and white for me. Right now I”m wearing a cubs uniform and that’s how I’m approaching it.”

How he approached the Giants was to rely on Whiteside, who played for the team from 2009-12.

“What a good guy to have back there,” Samardzija said of Whiteside. “He’s won two world championships with them and I think he knows the guys a little. I told him before the game, ‘You go ahead and throw down whatever you feel like, and I’ll take your word on it.'”

Samardzija scattered five hits, all singles, and did not walk a batter, and struck out five. Best of all, he controlled his tempo.

“I really feel like I slowed down out there,” he said. “I’m more under control. Me and Lester [Strode, bullpen coach] have talked about that of late. Don’t worry so much about the velocity of the pitch but more about how you’re throwing it and whether you’re selling it to the hitter.”

Samardzija was happy not to have to face Barry Bonds, who began a stint as a coach with the Giants on Monday.

“I gave up my first hit in the pros to him on this field,” Samardzija said. “I opened against the Athletics, and my second game was here and Bonds hit a ball through the hole in the shift and hooked a sinker through. That’s one of my earliest memories of being with the Cubs.

“I was happy as heck telling everybody he just got a single off me,” Samardzija said.

By the way, Samardzija never faced Bonds in the regular season.

– Carrie Muskat

13 Comments

Aloha Folks- I know it is early in the season but not too impressive for Samardzija 5 hits and 2 runs over 4 innings. The bullpen today held the Giants at bay and Rusin’s performance was a bright spot. We need starting pitching like what Can did to the Cubs for the first 5 innings today. I give our Cubbies credit for fighting back and winning late into the game. It will be a long season but hopefully we get some glimpses as to what the future holds for this team. Go Cubs. Mahalo!

Bonjour, k.g. I see Shark has not seen fit to improve his speech pattern since we last critiqued him; “Me and Lester have talked about that of late.” He can`t be bothered reading our posts apparently. I did not follow today`s contest as closely as yourself, k.g. Please tell me, was there a Mike Olt sighting? Au revoir!

Mike Olt started at first and went 1 for 3 and scored a run. He now has 17 at bats on the spring with 4 hits, including 1 HR, and has played 17 errorless innings in the field. Mike Olt hasn’t exactly been hiding this spring, so all you have to do is pay less attention to the players’ grammar and pay more attention to the box score and stat sheet.

I guess I stand corrected, Your Highness. I wanted to add earlier to my allusion to Shark ignoring our posts: I suggest he might actually learn some things were he to find time for this site. It could prove enlightening.

I was not addressing yourself. My question was posed to k.g.

You know it’s not that tough to check a box score that can be found one click away from this page? And I don’t care who your question was meant for. If you post it on a public open forum such as this, anyone in the whole wide world can answer. That’s the whole point of the Internet after all! If you have a question for someone that is “for his eyes only” then get his email address, give him a phone call, or write him a freakin letter.
And I think Jeff Samardzija has better things to do than to read what people say about him online. In fact, it’s generally best that athletes don’t read what people say about them online. I mean, look at what happened to Rashard Mendenhall. Athletes like Jeff Samardzija make more in a year than most of us will ever make in our entire lives, so really who cares what anyone has to say about them or how they speak? They’re not trying to win the World Series of grammar after all and no one keeps stats for them on number of verbs correctly conjugated per year. Just go out there an pitch well and you can mumble through every interview for all I care!

Aloha jhosk- I see that Doug already answered your question about Olt. It is neat to see his playing in the field, good defense is an asset. And he has more time to work on his bat but seems to be finding his rhythm. I also understand that we should not be so hard on folks when they are on camera-being interviewed, etc..I just wish someone(s) could work with the players as it is a part of the game, having to speak that is. I realize reporters want “candid” remarks made in the moment but a little discernment goes a long way. Well, good for our Cubbies today. Mahalo!

Actually, Samardzija was pretty dominant today. The hits were weak singles — Sandoval reached out and somehow golfed a couple balls — and he didn’t walk anybody. Sorry you didn’t see his outing, but if you did, you would’ve been impressed

Aloha Carrie-thank you for the follow-up. By the time I was able to listen to the game on mlb radio, Samardzija was out. I did look back and see that he had 5 strikeouts and no walks, that is good. Cain seemed to be pitching lights out as he gave up no hits had 7 strikeouts in 5innings. Being in “Giants” land the part that I liked about today’s game was the fact like the Giants in the past (2010 & 2012), our Cubs were losing into the later innings and came back for a win. That is very promising. Hope all is going well in AZ. Mahalo.

You would make an excellent diplomat, k.g. You are fortunate to live in the Bay area. Is one of my favorite regions of our nation. Would love to reside there myself , but is beyond my means. I read recently that the rental prices in San Francisco are the highest in the land, averaging $3500.00/month. Is a pleasure to know you are a Cubs fan and enjoy communicating with yourself. Bonsoir!

Aloha jhosk- thank you for your kind words. I know that not everyone will agree all the time but hope for a very civil and respectful discussion. I want the Cubs to do well and that includes Jeff S., even if I think he could have done things a little differently in regard to his contract negotiations. Having said that, yes SF is darn expensive! Glad I do not live in the city! Been going to the park every year to see our Cubbies, not sure if I will make it this year, would be the first year since the Giants park opened. I hope to make a game. Also hope to get back to Chi-town and get to Wrigley, it has been a few years since I last saw a game there. My favorite park of all time! Mahalo! PS: for Giants fans it was a little different seeing J. Sanchez pitch in relief against his first team!

For the unpleasant Doug: I am addressing you now. I refuse to be lectured by the likes of you. I can easily make the case that you are a hypocrite. Posters here will recall it was you who commenced all this roughly a month ago when you chided a person for his misuse of the prounoun “their.”

Why not just let it go? Its really about Baseball. If you get your point across, it really dont matter?
We all have out little peaves, I try to understand them all and respect them, if it is about baseball.
Myself, I never passed an English course passed 8th grade. I just do the best I can and not worry about it.
I would not call Doug unpleasent, he is very Baseball savy and brings alot to any conversation on here. Even at 59, I learn alot from Doug’s posts. Especially, looking at things from another perspective. Isnt that what Cub conversation its all about?

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