Chicago Sun-Times
with sports reporters Chris De Luca and Gordon Wittenmyer

Samardzija to get Cubs' opening assignment?

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Matt Garza's lat strain isn't considered serious, and for now the Cubs expect his spring schedule to get pushed back by only one exhibition start.

But even if he gets enough starts this spring to avoid opening the season on the disabled list, the shorter prep time has a good chance of taking him out of the Opening Day mix, which could assure Jeff Samardzija his first opening start.

Even if Samardzija doesn't see it that way.

``I mean, I know how Garza is. I know he's a competitor. I know how big of a year he wants to have,'' Samardzija said. ``To count Garza out wouldn't be the smartest thing to do.''

Manager Dale Sveum said it's too soon to make that call. In fact, he doesn't plan to do it until closer to March 20 and has even mentioned the unlikely Edwin Jackson as a candidate.

``I want the competition,'' Samardzija said. ``I want me and Garza and everyone to compete every [spring] start for that spot. It's only going to make us all better.

``Obviously, it was a given before anything else happened that I was going to go and give everything I had and try to earn that spot. And nothing's changed. So I'm going to stay on track to be ready for the first week of the season.''

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1 Comment

Does it really matter? I suppose there is some ego satisfaction to be the opening day pitcher, but that does not insure a solid season. I guess there is something to be said for the previous year's performance being a factor regarding who is number 0ne on the staff, but certainly spring training performance plays a factor as well, and when all is said and done, flipping a coin would make as much sense. As a hockey coach, I always started my second line, which could hold its own, and then my first line annihilated the other team's second line after the first line change. The strategy worked, so maybe the Cubs should start their fifth man against the opposing team's ace. That makes about as much sense as batting the pitcher in the number eight spot.

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This page contains a single entry by Gordon Wittenmyer published on February 20, 2013 11:03 AM.

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