PITTSBURGH -- It's a good thing Jeff Samardzija got some sleep Saturday night. He didn't expect to rest too much Sunday night prior to his first Opening Day start for the Cubs.
"That's OK," Samardzija said after playing catch at drizzly PNC Park in preparation for the season opener on Monday against the Pirates. "I got a lot of good sleep [Saturday] night. I work on the 48-hour plan."
The right-hander is optimistic about the Cubs' outlook this season.
"These last few games, I've stuck around and watched the whole team for nine innings," Samardzija said. "I like our depth, I like our versatility. I think we've got a lot of different guys who play a lot of different positions and can hit in a lot of different spots in the lineup.
"I think we have a good handful of guys who can take a game over themselves, guys like [Starlin] Castro and [Anthony] Rizzo and [Welington Castillo] and obviously, [Alfonso] Soriano. [David] DeJesus is going to do his thing at the top of the lineup. Those things really allow you to come every day with a good chance to win the ballgame."
The Cubs open the season with three games against the Pirates, then face the Braves in Atlanta. They need to get off to a good start, Samardzija said.
"I think it's really important for every team -- especially for this team, with a lot of new guys and new camaraderie going on and everybody getting to know each other," Samardzija said. "There's no easier way to make that seamless transition than to win some ballgames. I think we do that, and get off on the right foot, get back home and open our home series and go from there."
Carrie Muskat is a reporter for MLB.com. She writes a blog, Muskat Ramblings, and you can follow her on Twitter @CarrieMuskat. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.