As he was sizing up the National League Central on Tuesday, Chicago Cubs right-hander Jeff Samardzija seemed to take a playful jab at Milwaukee Brewers outfielder Ryan Braun, although he quickly tried to back off from the joke.
Samardzija, appearing on "The Waddle & Silvy Show" on ESPN 1000, was talking about how Central contenders have lost key players, including Albert Pujols from the St. Louis Cardinals and Prince Fielder from the Brewers. He then mentioned how the Brewers nearly lost another player. Braun's 50-game suspension for violating baseball's drug policy was overturned after a grievance was filed over the handling of his urine sample.
"Obviously the Cardinals won the World Series last year, but they're not the same team," Samardzija said. "Obviously Milwaukee lost a guy, could have lost two, but you know, hey lawyers ... having good lawyers helps out.
"And then you know you're going from there. Every year it seems like the Central is up for grabs and everybody is battling over it, so we need to come to play and just start off quick. I think the worst thing that could happen is you fall way behind in the first month and you're playing catch-up. So as long as we have a good first couple of months and really hit the summer on the right foot, I think there's going to be some excitement around Wrigley and it's definitely going to be a different feeling. I'm unbelievably excited to be a part of it and I can't wait for this to kick off."
Samardzija, who is trying to win a spot in the Cubs' starting rotation, was then asked if he will look at Braun differently, and he said Braun wasn't who he was talking about.
"They have this other guy," Samardzija said before laughing, " but ... no, I won't. To me personally it don't mean nothing to me. We'll try to approach him to get him out and that's that."
Coincidentally, new Cubs manager Dale Sveum was the Brewers hitting coach for the last three seasons.