Cubs' Samardzija gets a refresher course

MINNEAPOLIS -- Less than 24 hours after a shaky 78-pitch outing, Jeff Samardzija was throwing again in the outfield Sunday, working on his mechanics with pitching coach Chris Bosio.

The right-hander had his worst outing of the season on Saturday, giving up eight runs on nine hits over 3 2/3 innings, but manager Dale Sveum suggested Samardzija's struggles went back further.

“You’re starting to see a little breakdown of mechanics again and trying to bully his way through a lineup sometimes and not being able to concentrate,” Sveum said.

The first-time starter also appears to be trying to do too much as the club struggles for victories. As a result he is actually doing the club more harm.

“That’s all coming with the whole [losing] thing,” Sveum said. “I think everybody is trying to do too much -- whether it’s Samardzija or whoever is on the mound.”

Even when Samardzija was pitching well it has been a constant struggle to avoid trying to overpower hitters and trust that he can have success with location and changing speeds.

“It’s just getting the ball down,” Sveum said. “When he was pitching in spring training and early in the season, he was down in the strike zone. His head wasn’t flying off to the first-base side and all that. Now he’s losing a little bit of concentration I think and that ball is going to get up and you’re definitely not going to have command of arm side down to a left-handed hitter.

“You saw [Saturday] he pull-jerked about three pitches that [catcher Steve] Clevenger couldn’t even catch. That’s when you’re just flying wide open and have nothing behind the baseball.”