Jeff Samardzija to make 1 more start

Updated: September 7, 2012, 8:13 PM ET
ESPNChicago.com

Jeff Samardzija, the Chicago Cubs' best starting pitcher the past two months, will make his final start of the season Saturday against the Pittsburgh Pirates.

Manager Dale Sveum said prior to Friday's game that the team's decision to shut down Samardzija was precautionary.

"He did everything we imagined and even more, actually," Sveum said.

Samardzija, pitching his first full season a starter, had an impressive season outside of one bad month. He started hot, then struggled in June, posting an 0-4 record and a 10.41 ERA. He has since settled down to become the most reliable arm in the Cubs' depleted rotation.

Despite his 8-13 record, Samardzija's 3.91 ERA is the lowest on the team.

Sveum said Samardzija took the news unexpectedly well for his competitive nature, but that doesn't mean the right-hander liked what he was hearing.

"I don't think I had very many options to tell you the truth," Samardzija said. "It's unfortunate. I really would have liked to finish the season pitching the whole time. That way I could have looked back to really see how I went from beginning to end."

Samardzija will enter his final start with 165 2/3 innings pitched, his most as a professional pitcher. His previous high was 141 innings between Double-A, Triple-A and the major leagues in 2008.

Samardzija threw 88 innings last year for the Cubs, but he hasn't been a starter until this season. Samardzija's innings this season are just four short of what he had pitched in the major leagues his entire career before this season.

"I gave everything I had every start and you have to respect what they're planning on doing and what they plan on doing for the organization and the team," Samardzija said. "I talked to Dale about it and I put a lot of my faith in him and (pitching coach Chris) Bosio, too, that this is the right move for the right reasons."

When the staff took into account Samardzija's work not only in spring training but also during the winter, shutting him down was a much easier decision.

"That made it clear that essentially it was a 200-inning season for me if you take spring training," Samardzija said. "And that made it a little easier for me to get a grasp on because that was a big number for me. If you want to do what you want to do in this game you have to be throwing up there in those innings."

Samardzija said he plans on doing less throwing before spring training, but will still arrive early to work out. In turn, Samardzija was told he won't have any innings restrictions next season.

"No, I will believe that right now because that's what they said and that's why we're doing that this year so next year we can get off the chain and do what we do," he said. "That's how I'm approaching it. If we want to win games, hopefully they want me to do that and pitch every fifth day with no rest. That's the understanding I'm under and what we'll base our offseason workouts on and go from there."

Samardzija will remain with the team until the end of the season, but won't throw the ball again, not even in bullpen sessions.