Samardzija Named NL Co-Player of the Week … and Other Cubs News and Notes

Jeff Samardzija was named National League Co-Player of the Week on Monday after posting wins against the Nationals and Padres. Samardzija shared the honor with the Marlins’ Jose Fernandez.

Samardzija went 2-0 in two starts against the Nationals and Padres and allowed three runs on 11 hits with two walks and 12 strikeouts in 17 innings (1.58 ERA, 0.88 WHIP). Samardzija notched his second complete game of the season, and third of his career against the Nationals.

Samardzija became the first Cubs player since Ryan Dempster last June to be named National League Player of the Week and the third Cubs’ pitcher to take home Player of the Week honors in the last 10 years. Carlos Zambrano was named NL Player of the Week in September of 2008 after throwing a no-hitter against the Astros at Miller Park.

Jeff Samardzija is trying to finish the season on a positive note. Samardzija put together his best back-to-back starts since the end of May when he held the Pirates and White Sox to one run on five hits with 16 strikeouts and three walks in 16 innings.

Gordon Wittenmyer questioned if Samardzija could turn his recent performance into a lucrative contract. Wittenmyer thinks if Samardzija keeps pitching the way he has for the remainder of the season it will help when contract discussions begin again this fall.

Arizona Fall League

The rosters for the upcoming Arizona Fall League will be released on Tuesday at 1:00pm CDT and the Mesa Solar Sox will have at least three of the top prospects from the Cubs’ system on their roster.

Kris Bryant will join Jorge Soler and Albert Almora on the Solar Sox roster according to Paul Sullivan. Sullivan also reported Javier Baez will play in the AFL again this year. The report from Sullivan is the first one that has indicated Baez will play in the AFL and contradicted earlier reports that stated he would not play in the fall league.

Anthony Rizzo

Anthony Rizzo was glad to be back in the third spot in the lineup despite the success he had hitting in the two-hole. In five games, Rizzo put together a .292/.393/.542 slash line hitting second in the Cubs’ lineup with two home runs for a .935 OPS (7-for-24, four walks and six strikeouts).

Dale Sveum moved Rizzo into the second spot of the lineup to try to relax him and take his mind off of “trying to be the guy.” Sveum said a week ago it would be a temporary move.

Anthony Rizzo did not like hitting second and admitted it had to do more with his ego than anything. But Rizzo did not ask his manager to be moved out of the second spot in the lineup. According to the Tribune, Rizzo said that Sveum “is the manager, he makes the calls.”

Rizzo said, “It’s more an ego thing. I’ve never hit second in my life. If you’re the second hitter, you’re someone who gets guys over and bunts and slaps and what not. I think our lineup doesn’t call for me hitting second. You see the Cardinals and Carlos Beltran hitting second, but that’s because he has nowhere else to hit. I was there and tried to make the best of it. Dale says it best, it’s just a spot in the lineup. I just didn’t like it much.

According to the report from Carrie Muskat, Rizzo hopes he never bats second again.

C.J. Edwards

The Cubs acquired C.J. Edwards from the Rangers in the Matt Garza deal and he’s been pretty good since joining the D-Cubs’ rotation. Edwards has five no decisions due to the fact the Cubs are watching his innings. In 18 2/3 innings, Edwards has 28 strikeouts, six walks and has allowed just nine hits … and one of those hit was the first home run he’s allowed in pro ball.

Ben Badler included Edwards in his prospect notebook on Monday. Badler thinks that Edwards “could up being the prize of the haul” the Cubs received for Garza.

Badler said, “With a fastball that sits around 90-94 mph and can get into the high 90s when he needs it, Edwards is a strike thrower who repeats his delivery, works down in the zone, misses plenty of bats and can keep the ball in the yard.”

News and Notes

If Sunday’s game against the Padres would have continued, Brian Bogusevic was next in line to pitch after Hector Rondon. The Cubs would not have extended Rondon past 60 pitches. Bogusevic is a converted pitcher that hopes he never pitches in another big league game.

Kris Bryant is showing why he could be on the fast track to the big leagues according to Paul Sullivan.

Ron Cey is not a fan of trade deadline sell-offs according to a report from the Sun-Times.

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Quote of the Day

"Build up your weaknesses until they become your strong points." – Knute Rockne