Samardzija to start Cactus League opener

Samardzija to start Cactus League opener

MESA, Ariz. -- Jeff Samardzija will start the Cubs' Cactus League opener, but manager Rick Renteria isn't ready to name his Opening Day starter just yet.

Samardzija, who did start Opening Day 2013, tested the mound at new Cubs Park on Monday with a brief workout. On Thursday, he'll open the Cactus League season and Cubs Park's first year against the D-backs.

"So many things can happen over the course of the spring, I'm not going to lock myself into trying to divulge something I can't determine what it will be in the end," Renteria said when asked who would start March 31 when the Cubs open the season against the Pirates.

In Cactus League action, lefty Chris Rusin will start Friday against the Angels in Tempe. On Saturday, the Cubs have a day-night doubleheader. Travis Wood will go in the first game in Mesa against the Giants, and Edwin Jackson will start the night game against the D-backs in Scottsdale.

Jason Hammel, who signed a one-year, $6 million contract with the Cubs earlier this month, will start Sunday against the Royals.

Carrie Muskat is a reporter for She writes a blog, Muskat Ramblings, and you can follow her on Twitter @CarrieMuskat. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.