MESA, Ariz. (AP) Facing his former team, Jeff Samardzija gave up two-run homers to Jorge Soler and Chris Coghlan and solo shots to Starlin Castro and Anthony Rizzo as the White Sox lost 6-3 to the crosstown-rival Chicago Cubs on Friday.
”I think we’ll see a little feast or famine out of the Cubbies this year, huh?” said Samardzija, who was the opening-day starter for the Cubs the past two seasons. ”They don’t get cheated.”
”It was fun to pitch against them,” Samardzija added. ”A little weird. Definitely a little weird, for sure.
”I wish those guys the best. They look like they’ll be all right.”
Samardzija was pleased to throw 92 pitches and get through six innings. He had his pitches working well enough to get nine strikeouts, but left a few up in the strike zone.
Tyler Flowers hit a mammoth solo homer to center field for the White Sox. Melky Cabrera also connected.
White Sox: Samardzija struck out nine and did not walk a batter. But he gave up six runs and seven hits. ”When they’re swinging that hard and it’s up in the zone, they’re going to get it,” he said.
Cubs: Starter Jason Hammel pitched six innings, allowing two runs and six hits. ”It starts with the fastball,” Hammel said. ”I’m commanding the fastball, and I was kind of struggling there in the first couple innings moving it around. With the dry air, I had a tough time gripping the ball. Finally figured it out.”
Hammel also said he is developing a ”nice rapport” with new catcher Miguel Montero. ”I’m very excited about that.”
White Sox: Chris Sale, the White Sox’s No. 1 starter, threw a 75-pitch batting practice session in Glendale and reported no problems. Out with a foot injury, he won’t be ready for opening day. Instead, he will throw a bullpen/batting practice session on Monday and follow with game-like outings on April 1 and April 6.
SOX CLAIM DRABEK
The White Sox claimed pitcher Kyle Drabek off waivers from Toronto. Drabek spent most of 2014 at Triple-A Buffalo. He made two appearances with Toronto, working three scoreless innings. Over parts of five seasons with the Blue Jays (2010-14), Drabek went 8-15 with a 5.27 ERA.
Joe Maddon talked about rivalries Friday, both with the White Sox and within the NL Central. As for the Cubs vs. White Sox: ”It truly is a rivalry. I’ve been in places where they try to manufacture rivalries. You can’t manufacture rivalries. It either is or it is not.”
”I like the rivalry component. It makes for great barroom discussion. I love all that stuff. I’m really excited about being part of it.”
White Sox: Jose Quintana will start Saturday at home vs. Oakland.
Cubs: In split-squad games Saturday, Jake Arrieta will start at home vs. Colorado, while Gonzalez German will take the mound at Cincinnati.