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Tuesday, May 6, 2014
Jeff Samardzija proving he's a workhorse

By Jesse Rogers

CHICAGO -- Despite Chicago Cubs manager Rick Renteria's insistence he's not going to make a habit of letting his pitchers throw upward of 125 pitches, starter Jeff Samardzija is hoping he proved something Monday night.

"As a pitcher, it's your job to every day go out and when you get those situations, to prove they made a right decision," Samardzija said after throwing a career-high 126. "It's good to get the job done and put it in the back of their mind there is no reason to take you out."

Jeff Samardzija
"It's good to get the job done and put it in the back of their mind there is no reason to take you out," Jeff Samardzija said after his 126-pitch outing Monday.
In other words, Samardzija hopes to have earned the trust of his manager after getting out of a ninth-inning jam against the Chicago White Sox as pitch No. 126 was hit for an inning-ending double play. The Cubs went on to lose the game 3-1 in 12 innings, but Samardzija made his point.

"It's a gamble," Renteria said. "It's not a high-percentage gamble when a manager does things like that. ... I put myself in a no-win situation, potentially.

“If he doesn't get that double play, I'm not going to let him face that next hitter."

Renteria felt he had a lot to lose -- including the health of his ace -- and little to gain, but Samardzija was throwing so well he let him finish the inning. It doesn't mean he will next time.

"Would I do it again?" Renteria said. "I couldn't tell you if I would or would not."

It all depends on the situation and how efficient Samardzija is on that given night.

One thing is certain: The more often Samardzija throws that many pitches, the less likely Renteria will let him do it again.

Samardzija said he felt fine on Tuesday and is thrilled with his progress this season, despite the team's 1-6 record when he starts. His ERA is 1.62.

"It's a good sign, to be here in early May and throw that many pitches," he said.