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Hot Corner: Cubs reliever Jeff Samardzija’s in the interrogation room

Chicago Cubs pitcher Jeff Samardzijthrows during spring training baseball Friday Feb. 18 2011 MesAriz. (AP Photo/Matt York)

Chicago Cubs pitcher Jeff Samardzija throws during spring training baseball Friday, Feb. 18, 2011 in Mesa, Ariz. (AP Photo/Matt York)

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Updated: September 1, 2011 2:41PM

The only things that might be longer than Jeff Samardzija’s hair these days are his answers to Interrogation Room questions. That’s OK, we’ll forgive this onetime Notre Dame receiver, now a Cubs reliever.

Joe Cowley: So how do you think this reliever thing is working out for you?

Jeff Samardzija: There’s still a lot for me to learn. The big thing for me in the second half of the season has been just keeping guys off the basepaths for free, keeping my walks down. That’s been big. If they put it in play, let them put it in play with the defense you have behind you. It’s just trusting the guys behind you.

JC: If you had to guess, what are you most known for right now – your pitching, your hair or Notre Dame football?

JM: Well, it’s all a constant shift. I’ve had my hair for a long time, so hopefully that’s old news. We’re working on that. There are a lot of Cubs fans in Chicago, there are a lot of Notre Dame fans, so they still recognize me for that. But I said early in my career that my whole goal was to do well enough in baseball where they recognize me for that, not the football. We’re working our way there. There’s still a long way to go, but I like the foundation I built this year.

JC: You always hear about the “Notre Dame family’’ and how you guys all stick up for each other, but don’t you think the football team is over-valued every year in the AP preseason voting?

JM: My point of view is the AP preseason vote is nothing but a big pile of horse[crap] anyways. They haven’t played a game yet, so who knows, man? Anything can happen in camp. Anything can happen in the first eight weeks of the season. It doesn’t mean anything. It’s just a little group of people putting their votes in for no reason, trying to make print. If Notre Dame is better than their ranking, we’ll all find out.

JC: Is the North Side too full of distractions?

JM: Nah, we just have to keep our eyes on the big picture.

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