Blue and Gold Illustrated

Oct. 21, 2013 Issue

Blue & Gold Illustrated: America's Foremost Authority on Notre Dame Football

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irish in the pros Jeff Samardzija Looks To Take Next Step As An Ace By Andrew Owens A fter eclipsing the 200-inning mark, baseball's indication of a workhorse in the starting rotation, Chicago Cubs starting pitcher and former Notre Dame two-way sports star Jeff Samardzija isn't satisfied. Along with 26-year-old left-hander Travis Wood, Samardzija provided a glimpse of hope for a franchise that hasn't won a playoff series in 10 years or a World Series championship in 105. After posting an 8-13 record, a 4.34 ERA and 214 strikeouts in 213 2⁄3 innings this season, Samardzija just might get an extension from Cubs president Theo Epstein. "It's always felt like home, no matter the changes I've had under a lot of different players and managers, and the different teams I've played for," Samardzija told the Chicago Tribune. "It's been kind of a crazy little journey for six years, but I love being here and [I'm] excited to see what happens this offseason and see how this team can grow and get better." Samardzija grew up in Valparaiso, Ind., which is less than an hour drive from Notre Dame's campus. After he chose baseball over football professionally, the Cubs selected him in the fifth round of the 2006 MLB Draft. For the last three years of his minor league assignment, he pitched for the Iowa Cubs in Des Moines, Iowa, from 2008‑10. Samardzija, a former two-sport star at Notre Dame, posted an 8-13 record with a 4.34 ERA and 214 strikeouts in 33 starts for the Chicago Cubs this season. photo courtesy chicago cubs In his second season as a starter — he pitched out of the Cubs bullpen during parts of the 2008‑11 seasons — he struck out 214 hitters and took the ball every five days without fail. Although the club's future is up in the air with manager Dave Sveum's firing at the end of the regular season, Samardzija said he wants to be a part of the continued rebuilding process. "I try not to think about [the future] too much, just because you're so in tune with what's going on right now, where you want to be as a pitcher," Samardzija said. "It's not that you're making excuses, but it's time to learn

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