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Chicago White Sox: Jeff Samardzija adds to solid spring

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Mar 17, 2015; Phoenix, AZ, USA; Chicago White Sox pitcher Jeff Samardzija puts on his hat in the dugout prior to the game against the Seattle Mariners at Camelback Ranch. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

It has been very good to see Chicago White Sox starting pitcher Jeff Samardzija begin his two spring outings with solid efforts against the Oakland Athletics and on Tuesday against the Seattle Mariners, which ended with a 5-5 final score.

In the Tuesday outing, the right-hander pitched into the fifth inning, where he allowed just two earned runs on four hits and one walk. The possible Opening Day starter struck out three batters and allowed one home run, which was off the bat of Logan Morrison in the top of the fourth inning.

Kyle Seager doubled off Samardzija in the first inning for the only other extra base hit allowed by the right-handed starter.

Samardzija pitched into the fifth, but walked Brad Miller to start the inning, being the last batter he faced on the day. One big plus was Samardzija began his day with three shutout innings.

Samardzija’s spring ERA is 5.14 in two starts, amounting to seven innings of work.

Mar 17, 2015; Phoenix, AZ, USA; Chicago White Sox pitcher Jeff Samardzija against the Seattle Mariners at Camelback Ranch. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Bruce Levine of CBS Chicago quoted Samardzija following his second spring outing:

"“I felt like I had good life on my fastball. They (Mariners) have really good hitters and a lot of left handed hitting.”"

As for his first outing on March 8, against Oakland, Samardzija pitched three innings, where he allowed two earned runs on three hits and one walk. Samardzija had one strikeout in the spring debut.

Last spring with the Chicago Cubs, Samardzija pitched 21 innings, and the year before that, he went 25.2 innings in six starts.

Samardzija enters the ’15 season with a career record of 36-48 and 3.85 ERA in seven major league seasons with the Cubs and Athletics. The righty has 777.2 career innings pitched with 738 strikeouts.

Last season with the A’s and Cubs, Samardzija had a combined record of 7-13 with a 2.99 ERA in what was an All-Star season. In ’14, he finished with 202 strikeouts in 219.2 innings pitched.

Tuesday’s start was the type of start we all need to see from Samardzija because he got in some good work, pitched into the fifth inning and just let a couple batters get away from him.

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With Samardzija most likely being the Opening Day starter at Kansas City for the injured Chris Sale, the White Sox will be watching Samardzija with a keen eye, and I don’t blame them.

It is well-known and understood the White Sox will go only as far as their starting rotation and bullpen can take them, but Samardzija is a very big piece of that potential success. The better he is in ’15, the more success the White Sox will have.

Next: Courtney Hawkins having a big spring

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