Samardzija ready to make rotation return

Samardzija ready to make rotation return

CHICAGO -- Jeff Samardzija makes his first start of 2012 when he closes the Cubs' series against the Nationals on Sunday.

"It's definitely important to get off on the right foot," said Samardzija, who won a spot in the rotation with a solid Spring Training. "I preached all spring [about] getting off to a quick start as a team, so I can't say it's not the same for myself. It's important to do what you need to do to set the tone for the rest of the season."

The right-hander spent last season in the bullpen and has not started a Major League game since Sept. 26, 2010. He made three starts at the end of that season.

What should help Samardzija, 27, is following right-handers Ryan Dempster and Matt Garza. He can study their video and how they approach the Nationals. Samardzija does like film work, and he'll watch his mistakes so he can correct them.

"I'm more of a video guy for myself," he said. "I like to watch and see what I was doing a little differently. I usually tend to pick up on mistakes I made. That's why we pay all these guys [in the video department] such big bucks -- they tell us what [the other team] can't hit."