- Doug Padilla, ESPN Staff Writer
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WASHINGTON -- While saying they still do not have an innings limit on first-time starter Jeff Samardzija, it is starting to sound as if the right-hander will be getting a shut-down date soon.
Samardzija is at 165 2/3 innings after a seven-inning outing Monday against the Washington Nationals and would have five more starts remaining if the Chicago Cubs let him finish out the season. If Samardzija was able to last seven innings in each of those starts, he would end up with 200 innings.
Asked about the 200-inning mark, manager Dale Sveum didn’t say the Cubs would try to avoid it, but it didn’t sound like the club was sold on it either.
“We have to sit down with the whole organization and evaluate that decision and see where we want to be,” Sveum said. “That would be obviously a lot more innings than he has ever pitched in quite a while. But the strength level is obviously there right now. It’s something we really have to evaluate.”
Across the way in the Nationals clubhouse, they ended up putting a shut-down date on Stephen Strasburg. The right-hander, who is coming off Tommy John surgery, won’t be making another start after Sept. 12 and has reached the 156-innings mark.
“Everybody is different,” Sveum said. “They’re making one of the tougher decisions in baseball to shut probably the best pitcher down in baseball when they have a chance to compete for the World Series. But they have elected to make that decision, and they are sticking to it no matter what and how the season ends up happening. In the long run it would probably benefit everybody as well.”
While not in Strasburg’s class, the Cubs know that Samardzija is a valuable piece moving forward so they aren’t expected to push their luck by having him throw 200 innings.
“You know there are certain people that are very important to this organization going forward and you’re not going to put anybody in harm’s way either,” Sveum said. “It doesn’t make any sense.”
Sveum said a decision on Samardzija will probably come the next time the coaching staff meets with president Theo Epstein and general manager Jed Hoyer. Sveum didn’t rule out that a meeting like that wouldn’t take place before the end of the current road trip, which concludes next week at Houston.