The Chicago Cubs placed closer Kerry Wood on the DL earlier this week and in the process called up Jeff Samardzija for his first stint in the big leagues. On Friday, the former All American wide receiver for Notre Dame made his major league debut.
His stat line wasn’t overly impressive – 2 IP, 2 Hits, 1 ER (tying run), 2 K’s – but he was received very well by the Cubs faithfu and he more than held his own against a power hitting Marlins lineup. Samardzija has made a rapid rise through the minor league ranks this season. He was just called up to Triple A Iowa a little over a month ago, but posted a 4-1 record and 3.13 ERA.
Here’s what people are saying about Samardzija’s MLB debut.
Cub’s Pitcher Ryan Dempster via the Chicago Tribune:
“It won’t be the last time he [loses a lead]. Honestly, it’s going to happen,” Dempster said. “It’s happened to all of us who have been down there [in the bullpen]. I thought he threw the ball great. He looked really, really good and he’s going to help us tremendously.
“I know he feels badly. But that’s the tough part of a one-run game. One bounce here or there can mean the difference, and unfortunately it didn’t happen for us today.”
Cubs Manager Lou Pinella va WSBT
“The new kid did fine. He got the sign for the pitch-out, but he threw it to the screen. He’s got good stuff, he’s gonna help us,” commented Lou Piniella.
More from Pinella via the NW Times:
“He’s got a nice, fresh arm. We’re going to give him an opportunity to see what he can do. He’s stretched out. We can use him about any way we want. The best way is to get him in there in the middle part of the ballgame, and if he’s pitching well, let him go a little longer.”
Samardzija struck out Alfredo Amezaga, the first hitter he faced on a 97 mph 3-and-2 fastball before giving up the run. He also reached 99 mph on his first pitch to veteran Luis Gonzalez in the seventh.
“I don’t really pay too much attention to the gun,” Samardzija said. “I was happy with my fastball. A couple of them stayed up that first inning. The fastball was a little erratic the first inning and (better) the second inning.
He quickly curried Cubs manager Lou Piniella’s favor with a memorable performance for any rookie. Despite allowing the Marlins to tie the game 2-2 in the seventh inning on Hanley Ramirez’s single, a stolen base on an errant pitchout and Jorge Cantu’s RBI double, Samardzija showed the liveliest arm Piniella has seen in weeks from his undermanned, under-performing bullpen.
Can you explain that in English?
I’ve been with Notre Dame since My first Navy game in 1948 at Babe Ruth stadium.The way M S softened up near the games end I could not tell if they felt sorry for the team or the WHALE.
Kevin, I have to agree with Frankie. I would love to see Jeff play football too, however, he made the right choice and will last longer in MLB.
If you last 10 years in Pro football without needing crutches you are doing exceptionally good. Did you see the “Bus” trying to climb stairs on 60 minutes when he retired? It was hard to watch.
your right but who honestly would say they’d like to see him play minor league baseball, or i guess majors now, than go out on sunday and make his amazing catches, he may of made the right choice for him but i’d like to see him in the nfl
So far it looks like Samardzija definitely made the right decision. He looks to have a lively arm and nearly hit 100 mph on the radar gun Friday. A legit starter in MLB will make MUCH more money than 99% of the NFL wide receivers.
I’m a Phillies fan, so I’ll use them as an example. Adam Eaton, who has sucked his entire career and was just optioned to the minors, will make $11 freakin million next year – or more than any single wide receiver in the NFL. For that $11 million all he has to do is keep sucking at pitching and doesn’t have to get hit by the likes of Ed Reed, Bob Sanders, Brian Dawkins, etc.
Another example I can use from the Phillies. Jame Moyer is pitching effectively this year at age 45 – how many NFL wide receivers are effective at age 35 let alone 45?
should of gone to the NFL
I watched the game he looked great and his fastball was incredible once he gets control and calms down a bit he could be an all-star. I know he has more potential than that though.
Jeff did fine for his first outing. Granted he pretty much gave up the tying run and threw a wild pitch on a pitch out, we have to realize that this was his first major league game ever and he handled it all with character even when it got bad. He will be better though.