Samardzija refuses to abandon curveball

ATLANTA -- Ditching his curveball helped Jeff Samardzija to dominate out of the rotation again, but he won’t completely abandon the new pitch.

Samardzija was tough against the Atlanta Braves on Monday as he got some much needed distance from a terrible June. Last month he added a curveball into the mix and might have leaned on it a bit too much.

“These last few starts we have been feeling things out, seeing what works and what doesn’t,” said Samardzija, whose next outing will be Saturday at New York. “But I was kind of fed up with walking guys and stuff so I really wanted to get into the zone, and I knew I could get into the zone with my slider.”

Nearly halfway through his first season as a starter, Samardzija continues to experience things that will give him knowledge on how to handle himself down the road.

“I think the more I get to learn myself and how I pitch in games and how guys approach me at the plate, I think there will definitely be time to use the curveball again,” he said. “But it still needs work, and I need to learn how to carry over the work from the bullpen into a game. And it’s a learning process especially with that pitch.

“Just pitching in general, and pitch selection, I need to be sharper and be more in tune with what I’m doing.”