SURPRISE, Ariz. (AP) -- Jeff Samardzija made a strong opening bid for a spot in the Cubs rotation.
He allowed one hit in three scoreless innings Wednesday, and the Chicago Cubs defeated the Kansas City Royals 6-4.
Cubs manager Dale Sveum says Samardzija appears to be on a mission.
"He's 100 percent correct," said Samardzija, a standout receiver at Notre Dame who chose baseball over the NFL. "I hold a lot of stuff in. I don't say too much stuff. I have a big chip on my shoulder, especially the older I get and slowly see my football skills diminishing. You've got to understand I've got to start pitching good."
Samardzija, who has made only five starts in the majors, is trying to earn one of two vacancies in the Cubs' rotation after going 8-4 with a 2.97 ERA in 75 relief appearances last year.
He had some ugly ERAs during brief appearances in the majors in 2009 and 2010 before a breakthrough 2011, when he went 8-4 with a 2.97 ERA in 75 relief appearances.
"That topic has been a r...