“He was throwing at 93, 94 (mph) and topped out at 97,” Daytona pitching coach Rich Bombard said. “You hope that this will help him build confidence and it’s good to start with an outing like this. Anytime you go out there and go six-for-six, you’ve got to feel good.”
The 6-foot-5 right-hander came into Wednesday’s game against the Clearwater Threshers with the score knotted at 1-1 in the seventh inning and retired all six batters his faced, in order. Samardzija only allowed two balls out of the infield and struck out recent call-up Jason Donald.
He followed that outing on Friday, tossing 1 1/3 innings of scoreless relief and retired all four hitters he faced – three on groundball outs.
“He threw the ball well, kept it down in the zone more and was aggressive,” Bombard said. “It is a start. I don’t know how long this will go, but it was definitely a positive outing for him.”
Samardzija was originally scheduled to start Wednesday night, but was moved to the bullpen after going winless in his first 11 starts this season.
He was 0-5 with a 5.75 ERA in 51 2/3 innings from the Daytona starting rotation. He struck out 20, walked 16, and allowed a .349 average to opposing hitters.
What does the future hold for the top prospect?
“I think that overall, we are still looking at him as a starter,” Davis said. “He had just had some rough luck here in the first half and we wanted him to go out there and get a positive (outing).”