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Wednesday, March 26, 2014
Samardzija sharp in loss, but not Rusin

By Jesse Rogers

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- The Chicago Cubs got hammered by the Arizona Diamondbacks 14-4 after giving up 20 hits, including six home runs.

The good: Jeff Samardzija wasn't a problem on the mound, as he finished his spring with a three-inning, one-run performance. Afterward he declared himself ready for the regular season, which might be his last as a Cub. He'll start Opening Day in Pittsburgh on Monday. Nate Schierholtz had a three-hit day.

The bad: Chris Rusin, vying for the fifth starting spot, got pounded to the tune of 10 hits and nine runs in just 2.2 innings. In fairness, Rusin came on in relief of Samardzija, and that's not his normal routine. It remains to be seen what effect it will have on the starters’ competition. Reliever Alberto Cabrera also got hit for the second outing in a row, giving up a two-run homer in his one inning of work.

Starlin Castro: Castro was scheduled to play six to seven innings in a minor league game on Wednesday. The Cubs will determine afterward if he's ready for a major league exhibition game before the start of the season. Otherwise, Castro will stick to getting time in with the minor leaguers. He's recovering from a hamstring strain suffered on March 2.

What's next: The Cubs continue their Cactus League schedule on Thursday with a 2 p.m. CT matchup with the White Sox. Travis Wood will start as the Cubs will remain in Arizona for two more exhibition games against the Diamondbacks at Chase Field on Friday and Saturday before leaving for Pittsburgh to play the Pirates.