Shut down for the season, Samardzija looks forward

Shut down for the season, Samardzija looks forward

Shut down for the season, Samardzija looks forward
CHICAGO -- Jeff Samardzija has been reduced to spectator these days. The Cubs pitcher was shut down after his Sept. 8 start because he had reached his innings limit in his first season as a starter.

Saturday would've been his day to pitch, and Samardzija could only watch.

"Essentially, I do the same thing I did before, it's just the fifth day is a little vacant," Samardzija said.

He isn't throwing any bullpens, just playing catch and trying to stay busy.

"It's tough, it's really tough," Samardzija said. "You get into a routine and your body knows when it's ready to go. I'm not too used to sitting and watching. It's kind of hard to watch for real competing going on and not just a pickup game and not be participating."

He's offering advice to the young pitchers about how to deal with opponents, and on Saturday was used as a pinch-runner. Cubs manager Dale Sveum joked that he won't be calling on Samardzija to pinch-hit.

"Let him know it'll be Travis Wood before him," Sveum said. "Or [Chris] Rusin if he's not pitching. [Samardzija] has moved down on the totem pole. No extra-base hits. He's got the starting pitcher stuff figured out, now he's got to spend the winter hitting."

"That's all I hear from [Sveum] is, 'You don't have an extra-base hit -- all the other pitchers do,'" Samardzija said.

The right-hander is already thinking about next season. He'll go to Arizona on Dec. 1 to begin his program. Part of his training involves throwing a football to build up arm strength. Considering he was an All-American wide receiver at Notre Dame, that seems natural. Samardzija said he made the right choice in sports.

"The smell is always there," he said of fall. "It gets ingrained in you after doing it for so long. I'm OK. I'm having success in baseball and working hard for everything, so that makes it a whole lot easier. When you struggle and you're not getting out of it what you want to get out of it, it's tough."

Samardzija finished 9-13 in 28 starts over 174 2/3 innings. Next season, he won't have to worry about limits.

"No chains next year at all," he said.