Only 38 more to go until Opening Day.

Jeff Samardzija gets the first start for the Chicago Cubs as they open up the Cactus League against the Los Angeles Dodgers at HoHoKam Park today.

There are a few battles to watch this spring – fifth starter, second base, seventh bullpen spot – so that should keep things moderately interesting over the course of the long schedule.

Sometimes even more interesting are the young kids, the guys who have no chance of making the team, showing what they’re made of in their first taste of major league level action. After all, it was two years ago when Jeff Samardzija, himself a kid ticketed for the low minors, started chucking fastballs in Spring Training. I remember the ridiculous movement on his fastball as he sawed off bat after bat.

Maybe there will be someone like that this year. Maybe it will be the Cubs minor league pitcher of the year last year, Mitch Atkins.

He’s the guy pitching after Samardzija today.

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