Samardzija says pitch count talk misguided

Samardzija says pitch count talk misguided

CHICAGO -- As far as Jeff Samardzija is concerned, throwing 126 pitches over nine innings, which he did Monday, is not a big deal. It's also not something the Cubs pitcher expects to do every outing, and he will keep discussions on the matter between himself, pitching coach Chris Bosio and manager Rick Renteria.

"If Ricky didn't like how many pitches I threw, he'll come up to me and tell me, 'Hey, Jeff, it might not happen again, so enjoy it while you can,' which I'm fine with," Samardzija said Wednesday. "That's something we need to talk about. I'm a grown up, I can handle news like that, saying, 'Hey, we're going to keep you to 85, 90 [pitches] the next time,' or anything like that. I trust Ricky and know he's a very honest man and he'll shoot me straight. That's all I ask for. If I don't feel good, I'll tell him."

On Tuesday, Cubs general manager Jed Hoyer said he doesn't like to see pitchers throw that many pitches.

"It's a number, and we don't have enough knowledge to know at what number things turn into danger and when they don't," Hoyer said. "We've tried to focus on pitch stress in the Minor Leagues. It's a lot different to throw pitches with the bases loaded, it's a lot different to throw pitches in high-leverage spots."

Samardzija said he talked to Renteria in Spring Training and made it clear he wanted to go deep in games as much as possible.

"I just asked that we have good communication between each other during the game and that's it," Samardzija said. "Bosio was outstanding [Monday]. We knew where we were at and felt great. That's what you want, confidence from the coaches."

Told that the front office may not encourage such outings, Samardzija said it's an "on-field issue for uniformed personnel."

"I'm a grown man at 29, not a prospect at 22," he said. "I feel good. I think I'm grown up enough and responsible enough to understand when I can go and can't go. I'm going to go off that. I've earned my right in athletics to understand my body and where I'm at."

White Sox starter Chris Sale threw 127 pitches on April 17, which was his fourth game this season over 100 pitches, and is now on the disabled list with a flexor muscle strain. Samardzija said it's unfair to compare because everyone is different.

"You don't bring kids up through the system and coach every kid the same," he said. "There's different things you do for different guys. Do I want to go out and throw 120 pitches every time? Absolutely not. There's times when it calls for it, and times when it needs to get done and someone has to do it.

"It's unfortunate that we're getting to a point in the game where this is becoming news because it shouldn't," he said. "It should be the other way around -- why did this guy throw 75 pitches and then come out of the game after five innings? What's that about? I think the light is in the wrong direction."

The Cubs and White Sox were tied at 1 through nine innings Monday, and Renteria wanted to keep Samardzija in the game as long as possible to try to get him a win. He ranks second in the National League with a 1.62 ERA, but is 0-3 in his seven starts.

"There's a lot of things you need to do to win a ballgame and that needs to happen," Samardzija said. "It is what it is. Does it always work in your favor? No. We're at where we're at, and we're going to keep going out and pitching and try to get that first win."

Carrie Muskat is a reporter for MLB.com. She writes a blog, Muskat Ramblings, and you can follow her on Twitter @CarrieMuskat. Teddy Cahill is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter at @tedcahill. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.