CHICAGO – Cubs manager Dale Sveum knows what he will get from pitcher Jeff Samardzija in big games – a big-time performance.
Samardzija stepped up against the White Sox on Monday with a two-hit, complete-game shutout though afterwards the right hander admitted he sometimes struggles to get amped for less important games.
“Big games, forget about it, his great stuff is showing up, but then not so much that next outing,” Sveum said. “That’s what you have to be wary of sometimes.”
Sveum said that mentally Samardzija is trying to change could be part of the maturation process, but the game also has a way of humbling players.
“You have to figure it out and do something different to get yourself in that same atmosphere all the time,” Sveum said.
Borbon earning playing time: Since joining the Cubs in April after getting picked up off the waiver wire outfielder Julio Borbon done a little bit of everything when in the lineup.
Sveum started Borbon in center field for a second consecutive game and the 27-year-old left-handed hitter has provided a boost when he’s been given playing time. Entering Tuesday’s game against the Cubs, Borbon is hitting .333 in his last five games with a home run and two RBIs.
Borbon’s opportunities have primarily come against left-handers, starting in place of David DeJesus. Sveum said DeJesus will be back in the lineup today despite the Sox starting another left hander, John Danks.
“He’s done a nice job whatever we’ve asked him to do,” Sveum said. “He’s got some bunt hits pinching hitting, he’s caught the ball, able to steal bases. [Borbon’s] a pretty smart guy that has some ability to be an everyday player in the big leagues.”
Injury updates: Right-hander Arodys Vizcaino, acquired from the Braves last season, underwent an arthoscopic debridement on his right elbow performed Tuesday by Dr. James Andrews and will not throw for six weeks.
Vizcaino had a calcium buildup which caused soreness and led to longer recovery time after throwing. The good news is Vizcaino’s ligament repaired during Tommy John surgery still looks fine. The setback makes it unlikely he will pitch in a game situation this season.
Right-hander Scott Baker, who is rehabbing from Tommy John surgery, is still on the long-toss portion of his throwing program. Catcher Steve Clevenger (strained oblique) is currently in Arizona rehabbing from his injury but will soon head out on a rehab assignment. Kyuji Fujikawa (forearm strain) had an MRI Tuesday, however the results won’t be known until today.