Samardzija: Pitch Count Not A Front Office Matter
By Bruce Levine-
(CBS) – After throwing 126 pitches on Monday night, Cubs starter Jeff Samardzija was informed that the number was being evaluated by the team’s front office.
The 29-year-old Samardzija didn’t mince words when the media informed him that management was going to talk to the coaching staff about the pitch count.
“I am pretty sure the only ones that are concerned are me, (pitching coach Chris) Bosio and (manager) Rick (Renteria),” Samardzija said. “I thought we were on the same page as to what happened. We knew where we were at and it felt great. Those three people are the only ones that should be concerned.”
Samardzija has been at the center of trade rumors since last December. Talks on a long-term extension for the pitcher stalled after the winter meetings. The perception is the Cubs will move the pitcher for more pitching inventory before this year’s trade deadline on July 31. Knowing those variables makes the pitcher’s health a side story after every outing.
Cubs general manager Jed Hoyer told reporters Tuesday that the front office would talk to the coaching staff at some point about pitch count.
“You don’t like to see a guy get up that high,” Hoyer said. “That said, I think pitch count in general is a number, and we focus a lot on pitch stress.”
Samardzija said he was the best judge of his overall strength and would be proactive in telling his coaches when he was stressed.
“Absolutely,” he said when asked if he would tell the manager when he was tired.
“It is hard, not the easiest thing to do,” he said. “The older I get and the more I have seen, there are times you don’t feel the same in the seventh or eighth inning than you do in other games. You need to be aware of your body and have good communication. When you’re not feeling great, you say ‘Hey, give it to the bullpen.'”
The pitcher was surprised to hear that Renteria was under media scrutiny for his 126-pitch outing.
“This is an on-field issue,” Samardzija said firmly. “This is for uniform personnel, that is all there is to it. I am a grown man. I am 29, so I am not a prospect or 22. I feel good, and I am grown up and responsible enough to understand when I can go and when I cannot go. I am going to go off of that.”
Samardzija went on to say that a guy occasionally throwing 126 pitches isn’t a concern.
“It is unfortunate that we are getting to a point when this is becoming news,” he said. “It should be the other way around. Hey, this guy only throws 75 pitches and comes out after five innings. What’s that about? I think the light is in the wrong direction.”
Bruce Levine covers the Cubs and White Sox for 670 The Score and CBSChicago.com. Follow him on Twitter @MLBBruceLevine.