Adjustments pay off for 'excited' Samardzija

Adjustments pay off for 'excited' Samardzija

Adjustments pay off for 'excited' Samardzija
MESA, Ariz. -- After pitching his one inning in relief Saturday, Jeff Samardzija was called over to sit next to Cubs manager Mike Quade. The message was good.

Samardzija gave up a leadoff double to the Padres and then struck out the next three batters. It was an encouraging outing.

"I really like where I'm at," Samardzija said.

"The best thing with Jeff right now is his first few pitches, I didn't like what I saw," Quade said Sunday. "He got himself right in a hurry and did what he needed to do."

Learning how to make adjustments in the game is all part of growing up. Samardzija had not pitched since last Sunday in Las Vegas when he gave up one hit and walked two against the Dodgers and couldn't finish the inning.

"We needed a little adjustment to my plan and how I'm going to attack hitters and we applied that [Saturday] and it worked," Samardzija said Sunday. "It hasn't been that the pitches aren't there, it's how I'm attacking hitters. It's my approach from the beginning. It's the understanding that you're here to get three outs."

There's no talk about starting. Samardzija, 26, is penciled into the Cubs' bullpen, and he has known that since mid-January, when he and Quade talked at the Cubs Convention.

"We've been open with each other and that's all you can ask for as a player and hopefully, as a manager, too, from the player is to be open and honest," Samardzija said. "As long as we're on the same page, we can hit the season full stride, ready to go."

The right-hander has come full circle from the 2008 season when he made his big league debut out of the bullpen. That year, he compiled a 2.28 ERA in 26 games.

"I came up in '08 with blinders on, not knowing what was going on, but hey, it was, let's go out and throw," he said. "I feel I did that and now I've moved through the whole mechanics thing, starting and relieving thing, and now we've come out on the other side almost where we were before but with a better mental state on how we're going to approach the game.

"I'm happy with where I'm at," he said, "and feel really good and I'm just excited about where I am for the season."