Are you ready for some baseball???
That’s right, pitchers and catcher have only been in camp for about 2 weeks now, but we’re going to get our first taste of “2009 Cubs Baseball” today when the Cubs take on the Los Angeles Dodgers at HoHoKam Park in Mesa. Jeff Samardzija is set to start the game for the Cubs.
Samardzija had an impressive rookie campaign for the Cubs during the 2008 MLB season. Samardzija started 15 games for Double-A Tennessee and another 6 games for Triple-A Iowa before being called up to the major league level in mid July. Used to playing in front of big crowds as a wide receiver at the University of Notre Dame, the stress of playing in front of thousands of fans at the Friendly Confines of Wrigley Field never seemed to faze Samardzija. Samardzija pitched in 26 games for the Cubs, going 1-0 with a 2.28 ERA and 1.41 WHIP. In 27 2/3 innings, he gave up 7 earned runs, walked 15 batters and struck out 25.
Now Samardzija needs to show that he deserves to be part of the Cubs 25-man roster right from the start in 2009. He will compete with Sean Marshall, Chad Gaudin and Aaron Heilman for the 5th spot in the starting rotation. If he doesn’t win that battle, we would find it hard to believe if the Cubs do not see a prominent role for Samardzija in the Cubs bullpen. Samardzija’s fast ball is a game changer, and if he can show good control during spring training and keep the walks to a minimum, we’ll be seeing Samardzija inside Wrigley Field for many years to come.