3/20 Mariners 3, Cubs 0

Jeff Samardzija continued his tune-up for Opening Day. He struck out eight over 5 1/3 innings Thursday in the Cubs’ 3-0 loss to the Mariners. The right-hander felt much better than he did in his previous outing when he was charged with four runs on seven hits and three walks over 3 2/3 innings. He made a few changes in his mechanics after a side session or two with pitching coach Chris Bosio.

“The more I pitch, the more I realize it’s little things,” Samardzija said. “You start overhauling stuff too much, you’ll find yourself constantly changing. Sometimes it just clicks, a lot of times it has to do with conditioning and your arm and when your arm strength comes around, you’re able to do more things than what you could do before. I thought we did a couple more things that kept me from flying open and kept me closed and kept the ball on the plate more.”

Samardzija got some help from left fielder Junior Lake, who robbed Logan Morrison of a home run with a perfectly timed leaping catch at the wall with one on in the sixth. Samardzija was then pulled. He’ll have one more Cactus League start before the regular season begins.

“We’re ready to get going,” Samardzija said. “Let’s finish these last few games up strong and keep everyone healthy and get this show on the road.”

* Mike Olt, slowed by a tender right shoulder this spring, made his first start at third for the Cubs and played seven innings. He did not appear to have any problems in the field.

“It felt great to be out there, I felt like I was part of the game,” Olt said. “I was a little rusty but I’m glad I wa able to get out there and really test it out.”

He would’ve liked to field a couple more ground balls but the Mariners somehow waited until he was out of the game. Backup Jonathan Mota handled back to back plays at third to open the Seattle eighth.

“That’s how it always works,” Olt said. “The ball will find you when you get in there.”

* Thursday’s game was played in front of a Cactus League record crowd of 15,243 at Cubs Park. The Cubs, who are averaging 13,909 in 11 dates at their new Spring Training ballpark, had set the previous attendance high of 15,191 on March 14 against the Dodgers. Thursday was the second crowd to top 15,000 at Cubs Park.

* On deck: Chris Rusin, a candidate for the fifth spot in the rotation, will start Friday when the Cubs travel to Glendale to face the White Sox. Rusin looked sharp in his last outing against the Mets, giving up one hit over four innings and striking out two. Javier Baez, who shares the Cactus League lead in home runs with five, will start at shortstop, with Anthony Rizzo at first. The game will be broadcast on Cubs.com.

— Carrie Muskat


Please avoid putting scores in your headline. Many of us tape the game and don’t want to know the see the score in our email. Thanks.

Terry, I know your serious, but that comment had me really laughing. What should the headline read? Cubs and Mariners game over? LMAO

Shark is in an awkward mode with the Cubs. As was revealed in a feature piece in Wednesday`s USA Today, the better he hurls for his current team, the more likely Shark will be traded for prospects. I surmise if one wants Jeff to stay with the Cubs, one would wish him to struggle. That`s the conundrum. If one has an answer to this riddle, I`m all ears.

Aloha jhosk- yes it is a conundrum, he was pitching pretty good going into the 5th. Just to be contrarian in thinking, you might wonder why in the fifth and sixth he gave up runs, was he getting “tired,” frustrated because no run support? Not sure, but if I were him and advising him I would tell him, it does not matter if you end up with the Cubs by season’s end or another team, you go out there and do your best every time, it will only benefit you. So, if he has a break out year and the team wants to keep him, he stocks rose. If he is traded and having a great year, I would approach him and let him be a part of the discussions, meaning for example, we have 3 teams that really want you and we want the best for you as well as the Cubs. We are getting close to the beginning of the season and I just pray that he has his wits about him and is a team player. Mahalo!

Aloha Again Jasper and Jhosk- forgot to mention on a positive note: Olt played 7innings today with a hit. That is encouraging. I am hoping the best for him and the team, even if he does not start the season in Chicago, maybe soon there after. Mahalo!

K.g., do you know if Olt had any plays at 3rd?

Aloha Jasper-
I have to be honest, I was listening on the internet, mlb radio, but was not paying as close attention as I should have. I know there were no errors in the game and when Mota came in for Olt, he was part of a double play. Maybe Carrie can chime in here and let us know if Olt was tested with some ground balls, etc… Take care now. Mahalo!

If Shark was going to sign with the Cubs, he would have done it by now……..the temptation of making millions more on the open market is too great for any player……Cubs are better off trading Shark and build on the future with the return….Shark will be in his mid 30’sbefore this Cubs team sees serious playoff contention……better to invest in Baez, Bryant and other contracts then in Shark……..it was not to long ago that Zambrano was talk of the town as being a top notch pitcher…..where is he today?………the better Shark pitches, the better the return in July….the haul will be much greater then what we saw with the Garza trade……..just like rice and orange juice, pitching is a commodity today…….the trade price will get higher as the year goes on with a healthy Shark on the mound……..Playoff GM’s who are in a panic in July, make some of the worst moves…..just ask the Texas GM last year what he gave up for a Garza rental.

Aloha CubsTalk, good point and look what we got in return for Garza: Grimm, Edwards and …Olt. So, I am with ya, Shark go out there and pitch lights out, stay healthy and it will be a win-win situation for both teams come July! Mahalo.

while that trade does look good now… we took a significant risk on those players… who knew if Olt was going to recover…. Edwards had a high ceiling but just as high if not higher bust potential with still TONS to prove. Grimm is a nice filler with still a huge amount to prove. Granted we won the trade but we couldve easily gotten hurt big time on the trade.

That was a no lose trade. Garza a FA at the end of the year, for 3 prospects. Garza, like Dempster, a complete fail in Texas and gets his 50 Million from Milwaukee.
Cubs didnt have to give him a qualifying offer, which he might have taken.

Bonsoir k.g., is always a pleasure to hear from yourself. Is my impression Shark would prefer to be with a contender immediately, if not sooner. Is not like he`s 21 and has beaucoup major league seasons in his future. He can`t say that , anymore than Theo can say we have an ace in the hole, Baez, in case Castro sh#ts the bed again this season. Isn`t it interesting there is a major league game, actually two, in Australia this weekend? They count also. They are not exhibition games. They converted a cricket stadium in Sydney to a baseball stadium just for this weekend to accommodate the Dodgers and Snakes. Am thinking it cost a small fortune. I read the entire enterprise is a loss leader for MLB, and I`m not referencing the network. I regret I can`t see the games as they are being broadcast on the MLB Network, which myself does not have access to. I would if I were home, but I`m travelling. One of the games is going to be broadcast at 1:00 AM, California time, where yourself is domiciled. If you are planning on viewing that first game just after midnight, I`m recommending lots of coffee. Au revoir, k.g.

Aloha and Konnbanwa (good evening) jhosk- yes the games in Australia are interesting. I think they could have played in Japan and at less cost to the MLB but they probably feel they have my relatives over there all ready “hooked,” so this is a new market to tap into “down-under.” I have MLB radio and if I cannot get some shut-eye, may do some work and listen online! Thanks for the heads-up there. As you and CubsTalk both mentioned reasons for Shark to want to go, one thing is, even though he is not that old, he is also not a kid anymore and it maybe a few years before our Cubbies are contenders so he knows he only has so much time. My concern with him has always been his attitude and the understanding of what it means to be a team player. Take a look at Greg Maddux and why teams would say not only were they blessed to have him on the team (even in his later years) but it was like having an extra coach. I just do not sense that type of maturity from Samardzija (my opinion as I have never met him) and for a young team like our Cubbies, you need some Maddux-like folks. So, I hope he has a great spring going into the summer and he can land on a contender and we can get more Olt-Grimm-Edwards+! Hope you have safe travels. Mahalo!

Yes, k.g., Maddux was special. Is no accident he was called “The Professor.” Was very cerebral. He was unique and he was a “coach on the field” as you referenced. Is unrealistic to place those expectations on current roster members probably. I just want them to perform at a high level. I must qualify something I wrote earlier. I`m consumed by college hoops and March Madness this weekend, and probably would not have time for baseball from Australia even had I access to that. I love college basketball and baseball is relegated to the back burner for these three weeks, until a national champion is crowned April 7th, I believe it is. Have a good night, k.g.

Aloha jhosk- Yes, Maddux is special and that is a high standard by which to compare. I agree, it would be nice to have folks come to work and perform well. I totally understand your “consumption” with March Madness. My college just missed it, so they are in the NIT. I no longer have an interest in the NBA like I used too but still enjoy college hoops. Take care and oyasuminasai (good night), mahalo!

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