MESA, Ariz. -- As a legitimate Major League workhorse, Jeff Samardzija probably doesn't envision Spring Trainings such as this one when he contemplates preparing for the regular season.Samardzija did not pitch more than four innings in any of his five Cactus League exhibitions this year. That trend continued Wednesday, when
MESA, Ariz. -- As a legitimate Major League workhorse, Jeff Samardzija probably doesn't envision Spring Trainings such as this one when he contemplates preparing for the regular season.
Samardzija did not pitch more than four innings in any of his five Cactus League exhibitions this year. That trend continued Wednesday, when he yielded three runs and seven hits spanning 3 1/3 innings in a Triple-A exhibition against Chicago Cubs farmhands.
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Samardzija is the only pitcher in the Majors besides Washington's Max Scherzer to work at least 200 innings each year for five consecutive seasons. His durability leads to consistency and even victory, though the Giants own a 28-36 record in his starts during his two seasons with them.
The Giants are left to wonder and worry about Samardzija, their projected No. 3 starter, and the rest of their rotation. Giants manager Bruce Bochy insisted that injuries aren't an issue with Samardzija, though he recalled the right-hander experienced discomfort in his neck early in camp.
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Madison Bumgarner, San Francisco's Opening Day starter next Thursday at Los Angeles, is the lone Giant to last five innings or longer all spring. Squeezing that much work out of any starter will be considered a major accomplishment.
For a while on Wednesday, Samardzija appeared destined to last that long. He walked none and struck out six.
"The stuff's moving," he said. "... I didn't throw too many curveballs, but the slider was good, the cutter was good and I threw some good changeups."
But with a runner on second base and one out in the fourth inning, he grazed a Cubs rookie with a pitch and quickly left the mound, having reached his pitch limit of approximately 80. He indicated he'll be able to throw more when he makes his final exhibition appearance during the upcoming Bay Bridge Series.
"We'll go out and assume 100," he said.
Other clubs are facing similar predicaments with their pitchers, due to the truncated Spring Training that leaves teams unable to bring along pitchers gradually.
Nevertheless, Samardzija sounded like he wanted nothing more to do with camp, despite pitchers' overall need for more work.
"Oh man, I'm always ready to go," he said. "At this moment, this late in camp, that's all you're looking forward to."
Chris Haft has covered the Giants since 2005, and for MLB.com since 2007. Follow him on Twitter at @sfgiantsbeat and listen to his podcast.