Samardzija named Cubs opening day starter

By Paul Sullivan, Tribune reporter
11:49 a.m. CDT, March 14, 2014

MESA, Ariz. — Jeff Samardzija doesn’t know for sure whether he’ll still be a Cub on opening day, but if he is, he’ll be the starter.

Manager Rick Renteria finally named Samardzija as his opening day starter on Friday before the Cubs game against the Dodgers at Cubs Park.

“Everybody is looking forward to him taking the hill against Pittsburgh,” Renteria said.

Travis Wood, the only other possible choice, will be No. 2 in the rotation, followed by Edwin Jackson.

Renteria said Samardzija “has done it before,” referring to last year’s opening day start in Pittsburgh.

“I think the decision was quite easy for all of us,” he said.

Renteria wouldn’t say who is fourth starter is, but Jason Hammel is the obvious choice.

There is still no clarity for the fifth starter’s spot, with Jake Arrieta still rehabbing and Chris Rusin (1-2, 8.22 earned-run average), James McDonald (12.71 ERA) and Carlos Villanueva (7.71 ERA) all struggling this spring.

Kyle Hendricks gets his third start this afternoon against the Dodgers, but isn’t considered an option.

Copyright © 2014 Chicago Tribune Company, LLC

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