JEFF SAMARDZIJA DIARY
Early in the season, you obviously want to cut down on walks, keeps walks down to the hitters. I had three in five-plus innings in my start Tuesday for Daytona (a 3-0 loss). You can't have that. The hitters are more selective every level you go up.
You see a lot of different types of hitters the higher you get up in the pro ranks. The lineups will be deeper from one to nine. The 7- and 8-hole hitters can swing the bats. It's not like college, where the leadoff guy could run and the No. 3 and 4 hitters can hit.
I'm also working on my second and third pitches. My changeup feels really good. The slider doesn't feel as good. It's an ongoing process.
The Daytona starters are on pitch count early in the season, around 90 per game. But I definitely want to go as many as we need. My arm's at full strength.
A lot of people talk about my velocity, being able to throw my fastball in the mid-90s, up to 97 mph. I don't base an outing, whether it's good or bad, based on my speed. I still would like to know what velocity I'm around. As long as I'm around 94 to 96 mph and throwing strikes, I'm fine. For sure, in a specific situation in a game, or when the hitters' bats are a little slow, I'll try to get a little extra, the hitters' bats are a little slow.
For the second year in a row I'm playing for manager Jody Davis. It's great to have a manager who has been in the majors and done some good things. He's seen it all, he's always on top of the game. It's great to have a manager who was a catcher.
My dad, Sam Sr., came down for a weekend. He's real nervous when I pitch.
It's different than football. One good thing about baseball, a lot of down time. It's more drawn out.
As told to Times Correspondent George Castle.