HAS WORK IN IOWA MADE A DIFFERENCE FOR SAMARDZIJA

Unlike last year, the Cubs let Jeff Samardzija spend several months honing his craft in Triple-A.  When Samardzija makes his first start of the season on Monday in St. Louis, the organization will see if the Indiana native can translate his success at Iowa to the big-league level.    

"I was working on being a more complete pitcher (in Iowa)," Samardzija said.  "(I was) really just doing things to pitch deep into games and get as many innings as you can; getting strikeouts when you needed them; keeping the walks down; and just (letting) my stuff work for me instead of kind of battling.  Overall, for the past couple of years, I've been working on pitches individually here and there, finally it's been nice to put that together as a whole."

Samardzija replaces Carlos Silva, who was scratched from the opener against the Cardinals due to an elbow strain.

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