Maholm, Samardzija happy with work vs. Reds

Maholm, Samardzija happy with work vs. Reds

Maholm, Samardzija happy with work vs. Reds
MESA, Ariz. -- Paul Maholm finally feels like he's one of the Cubs.

The left-hander made his first Cactus League appearance on Monday, starting against the Reds at HoHoKam Park. Maholm, who had been slowed this spring by the flu, gave up one run on two hits over two innings, striking out one.

"I was happy to get out there," Maholm said. "After going through [pitchers' fielding practice] and throwing bullpens, you really don't feel a part of it -- and then you get out there and it went well. I wish I would've gotten ahead of a couple more guys. My main thing was no walks, and I was aggressive and went after the guys."

Jeff Samardzija followed Maholm, pitching out of the bullpen for the first time this spring after a three-inning Cactus League start last week against the Royals. He had a tough first inning, giving up two runs on two hits and hitting a batter. But the right-hander, who is vying for a spot in the rotation, settled down and retired the last eight batters he faced.

"There's definitely an adjustment there," Samardzija said. "The ball was up a little bit. It was actually interesting to do. The last game, I was pitching out of the windup most of the time. To pitch out of the stretch was nice."

Samardzija gave credit to the Reds' Zack Cozart for hitting a double down the line in the third off what he thought was a good sinker. The Cubs came back to win, 8-6.

Samardzija pitched out of the bullpen exclusively last season.

"It's just timing, to tell you the truth," Samardzija said. "Paulie pitched pretty good and went nice and quick, and kind of made it a little easier so I was on time. We'll just battle through that first time. It was nice to throw that little wrinkle in it and see how I [adjusted]."