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Samardzija talks contract after Rizzo's extension

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CHICAGO -- Cubs shortstop Starlin Castro signed a long-term deal last August and first baseman Anthony Rizzo received a new contract Monday. What about Jeff Samardzija?

"It's not really important to me, to tell you the truth," Samardzija said Monday. "I'm the type of guy who the play speaks for itself, and if you're healthy and do everything you're supposed to do, like those guys do, and most importantly, do what it takes to win ballgames, that's what it's all about. I'm a little older than they are -- I wouldn't mind being 22 or 23 again -- but baseball-wise, I'm still pretty young. That stuff comes as the game goes."

In Spring Training, the 28-year-old Samardzija said he wanted to pitch first, then talk contract. That's still the way he's looking at it.

"We're still in only the second month of the season," said Samardzija, who is 1-5 with a 3.70 ERA and has not won since Opening Day. "Coming in and starting Opening Day and pitching every fifth game from there, I've felt great. I'm excited to get into the summer and get into August and get toward that high-innings count and see where I'm at as a starter. Nothing has changed. The games that happen out here are the most important for me, personally."

He didn't ask to table negotiations.

"I know they have a lot of things on their minds right now," Samardzija said of the Cubs' front office. "We have an understanding that we both want to be here, and both want me here, and that's a great place to be. It's up to me to do my job on the field."

The right-hander recognizes that players are paid based on what they do on the field.

"I want my play to determine how everything goes down," he said. "I have high expectations for myself and this team. That comes first. I feel everything after that will fall into line for me, personally."

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.

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