Cubs bring up RHP Samardzija to replace injured Wood

CHICAGO -- The Chicago Cubs called up right-hander Jeff Samardzija from Triple-A Iowa on Friday
after placing closer Kerry Wood on the disabled list with a blister on his right index finger.

Samardzija pitched two innings of relief in a 3-2 loss to the Marlins, allowing one run on two hits. He struck out two.

Samardzija, a former star wide receiver for Notre Dame, was a starter in the minor leagues, going 7-6 with a 4.29 ERA for Iowa and Double-A Tennessee.

He made his final six minor league starts for Iowa, going 4-1 with a 3.13 ERA. He struck out 40 in 37 1/3 innings.

"I felt really good coming out for that second inning. My mechanics came together a little more," Samardzija said. "My whole goal here was to go out and throw well and give confidence to the coaches that they can throw me out there in any situation."

Samardzija had last pitched on Saturday against Nashville, allowing two hits and one walk in six innings and striking out nine.

Samardzija signed a $10 million, five-year contract with the Cubs in 2007 despite speculation that he could have been a first-round pick in the NFL draft.

"Middle of the summer in Chicago, you can't really ask for anything else," he said.

Samardzija arrived in Chicago at 6 a.m. Friday after flying out of Tucson, Ariz., and changing planes in Las Vegas.

"It doesn't matter, I could have flown in about two minutes ago," he said.

Wood's placement on the DL was retroactive to July 14. He is eligible to be activated Tuesday at Milwaukee.