Hawk Harrelson puts Jeff Samardzija to sleep
BY GORDON WITTENMYER firstname.lastname@example.org May 17, 2012 9:32PM
ST. LOUIS, MO - APRIL 13: Starter Jeff Samardzija #29 of the Chicago Cubs pitches against the St. Louis Cardinals during the home-opening game at Busch Stadium on April 13, 2012 in St. Louis, Missouri. (Photo by Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images) R:\Merlin\Getty_Photos\142850215.jpg
Updated: July 1, 2012 11:52AM
The guy who opens the crosstown series on the mound for the Cubs Friday afternoon knows all about the White Sox — enough to recommend the broadcasts as a cure for insomnia.
Jeff Samardzija, who says he was a fan of both teams growing up in northern Indiana, wound up at more Sox games because they were close and an easier ticket, and watched Hawk Harrelson a lot on TV.
‘‘I always liked the ones where he didn’t talk for like an inning and a half,’’ Samardzija said, ‘‘then all of a sudden he’d be like, ‘The 2-2, two outs. …’ It’s like, well, where were the other 15 pitches that happened that inning?
‘‘That was when D.J. [Darrin Jackson] was there, too. I loved watching those guys. They’re entertaining. I always liked his ‘hose’ call [for a strong throw]. That was my favorite.
‘‘They’re fun to watch, fun to listen to. … You can always get a good nap in during the Sox game.’’
Matt Garza was out early fielding bunts and throwing to first the day after a pair of worm-killer throws on Juan Pierre bunts, under the watchful eye of the team psychologist — through he continues to scoff at any suggestion of the ‘‘yips.’’
‘‘For whatever reason he threw [those balls into the grass], I don’t really know, but he’s definitely got to work on it,’’ manager Dale Sveum said. ‘‘He did a great job — did you see it? It was awesome.’’
The Cubs’ beleaguered bullpen got another fresh arm Thursday when right-hander Blake Parker was recalled from Class AAA to make his major-league debut, with lefty Scott Maine being optioned after just one day with the club.
Maine, who pitched well in a two-week stint earlier this season, pitched poorly Wednesday night after a hectic travel turnaround that included one hour of sleep.
Catcher Geovany Soto was scratched from Thursday’s lineup because of left knee inflammation and replaced behind the plate by Welington Castillo.
The team said Soto’s status is a day-to-day decision.