MESA, Ariz. -- After pitching his one inning in relief Saturday, Jeff Samardzija was called over to sit next to Cubs manager Mike Quade. The message was good.
Samardzija gave up a leadoff double to the Padres and then struck out the next three batters. It was an encouraging outing.
"I really like where I'm at," Samardzija said.
"The best thing with Jeff right now is his first few pitches, I didn't like what I saw," Quade said Sunday. "He got himself right in a hurry and did what he needed to do."
Learning how to make adjustments in the game is all part of growing up. Samardzija had not pitched since last Sunday in Las Vegas when he gave up one hit and walked two against the Dodgers and couldn't finish the inning.
"We needed a little adjustment to my plan and how I'm going to attack hitters and we applied that [Saturday] and it worked," Samardzija said Sunday. "It hasn't been that the pitches aren't there, it's how I'm attacking hitters. It's my approach from the beginning. It's the understanding that you're here to get three outs."
There's no talk about starting. Samardzija, 26, is penciled into the Cubs' bullpen, and he has known that since mid-January, when he and Quade talked at the Cubs Convention.
"We've been open with each other and that's all you can ask for as a player and hopefully, as a manager, too, from the player is to be open and honest," Samardzija said. "As long as we're on the same page, we can hit the season full stride, ready to go."
The right-hander has come full circle from the 2008 season when he made his big league debut out of the bullpen. That year, he compiled a 2.28 ERA in 26 games.
"I came up in '08 with blinders on, not knowing what was going on, but hey, it was, let's go out and throw," he said. "I feel I did that and now I've moved through the whole mechanics thing, starting and relieving thing, and now we've come out on the other side almost where we were before but with a better mental state on how we're going to approach the game.
"I'm happy with where I'm at," he said, "and feel really good and I'm just excited about where I am for the season."
Wells proving worthy of spot in Cubs' rotation
MESA, Ariz. -- Randy Wells doesn't want to talk about last year. He's moved on, and showed that on Sunday.
"I've been super-impressed with Mr. Wells," said Cubs manager Mike Quade, who didn't want to officially commit to the right-hander as one of the starters, but all indications are that Wells is set. "He's had an unbelievable spring and we'd like to see him keep going and keep working to make it better, and I think he will."
The right-hander struck out seven over six innings, retiring 18 in a row, in the Cubs' 3-2, 10-inning victory over the Giants. What else can he do to guarantee a spot in the rotation?
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"It's not up to me," Wells said, "and until the decision is made, I can't say anything. ... I think I've done enough. It's just up to what they want."
What the Cubs want is a pitcher who can perform more like the one in 2009 who won 12 games. A sinkerball pitcher, Wells has kept the ball down this spring, and appears to have secured a spot. The difference could be confidence.
"Confidence is a huge thing, and I lost it last year and it's a tough thing to overcome," Wells said. "If you don't have confidence, it's tough. Even if your stuff is working, if you don't believe in your stuff, it's hard to go out there and get guys out. I don't think confidence only comes with getting guys out and having a good outing, it comes from believing in yourself and knowing you belong and getting the job done."
He's found a good routine between starts, he's doing his arm exercises, he's studying video and having productive side sessions. It's all paid off.
"If you want to go back to last year, I kind of took my sides for granted," he said of his 8-14 season. "It was more about going out there and trying to find something that was missing instead of working on what you need to work on."
On Sunday, he gave up hits to the first two batters, including an RBI single by Mike Fontenot, then shrugged that off, and retired 18 in a row.
"That's one thing I've been working on," he said about making in-game adjustments. "I'm known as a quick worker and I still work pretty quick, but when you get behind, 2-0, or give up a couple hits or get a couple guys on, you have to step off and take a breath and gather yourself and make sure you make good pitches. I'm trying to limit damage in big innings and I was able to do that."
And, he will likely be able to do that in Chicago this year.
Quade not judging starters solely on numbers
MESA, Ariz. -- Cubs manager Mike Quade didn't know what his starters' ERAs were. He's judging the pitchers on what he sees, not the numbers.
"I'm just looking at how I feel about them health-wise," Quade said Sunday. "Would I like to see improvement here and there, and do we need to have better command and do some things by April 1? Yeah. I think pitching-wise, I'm looking at a group of guys I'm happy with."
Matt Garza, who felt some soreness in his left hamstring pitching in Peoria on Saturday, was fine Sunday. That's been the only health issue as far as the starters go.
Just in case Quade is reading, Ryan Dempster has a 2.00 ERA; Carlos Zambrano 4.08; Garza 9.88; Randy Wells 1.29 prior to Sunday's start; Carlos Silva 15.88; Andrew Cashner 3.97.
"I haven't lost any faith in any of the five guys I've watched," Quade said. "Silva has struggled, so let's see if we can get him on track."
Cashner will make his third spring start and fifth appearance on Monday, when the Cubs travel to Tempe to face the Angels. He needs to keep the ball down, use his complementary pitches and be effective, Quade said.
"He's done the little things we've asked," Quade said of the right-hander, a candidate for the rotation. "There are a lot of things he's done well going from the bullpen to now a starter. Every step is an important step. I'd love to see him pitch well."
Quade, general manager Jim Hendry and others will meet early this week to discuss the roster.
Zambrano and Silva have been pitching on the same day, and Quade said the Cubs will most likely take advantage of their Minor League camp and have one of them -- most likely Zambrano -- start there. Silva has struggled with his changeup.
"His soft game, to me, is what gave him the great start he had last year," Quade said of the right-hander, who began 8-0. "This can be a tough place to have a good soft game -- it is what it is, it's Arizona and it's a son of a gun. His effectiveness at this point in his career depends on how good the changeup is and the breaking ball and how good he locates."
The Cubs will wait as long as they can before making a decision on the final two rotation spots.
Cubs third baseman Aramis Ramirez was sent home Sunday. He had a 102-degree fever on Saturday. "There's a good chance he'll play tomorrow," manager Mike Quade said. ... Angel Guzman will shift his rehab to the Minor League camp at Fitch Park, starting Monday. He was scheduled to throw batting practice Wednesday and could get into a game there in one week. He's coming off right shoulder surgery, which forced him to miss all of 2010. "He's certain he's coming back," Quade said. ... Infielder Augie Ojeda was scheduled to have a cortisone shot on Monday. He's been limited because of back spasms. ... Scott Moore has impressed Quade this spring, especially his versatility. Moore can play all infield positions. ... The White Sox want to use the designated hitter Thursday when the two rivals face off in Mesa. "Given the rivalry, we'll let our pitchers hit and they could DH," Quade said. "We ought to get a run or two for that." ... Casey Coleman gave up two hits over three scoreless innings pitching for the Cubs' Triple-A team against the Giants in Minor League camp Saturday. The right-hander did not walk anyone and struck out three. He threw 35 pitches. Coleman is being considered for the Cubs' bullpen as a possible long man.
Carrie Muskat is a reporter for MLB.com. 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.