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Friday March 14th, 2014

The Chicago Cubs avoided arbitration by agreeing to a one-year deal with Jeff Samardzija. (Mike McGinnis/Getty Images) Chicago Cubs pitcher Jeff Samardzija lost five of his final six starts last season. (Mike McGinnis/Getty Images)

Chicago Cubs pitcher Jeff Samardzija was named the team's starter for Opening Day, Cubs manager Rick Renteria announced Friday.

The Cubs open the 2014 campaign on March 31 against the Pittsburgh Pirates.

Samardzija also started last season's Opening Day, giving up two hits and striking out nine in a 3-1 victory over the Pirates.

"Jeff will take the nod," Renteria said via MLB.com. "Everybody's looking forward to him taking the hill against Pittsburgh."

Samardzija went 8-13 with a 4.34 ERA, 1.35 WHIP, and 214 strikeouts for the Cubs last season. Last month, he signed a one-year, $5.345 million contract for 2014, avoiding arbitration. Renteria said lefthander Travis Wood will follow Samardzija in the rotation.

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"We'll go Woody [in the second game] and keep working on the rest," Renteria said of the team's rotation. "[Edwin Jackson] should follow, and everybody will follow in line." "Jeff's done it before and put in a very strong year, as Woody did," Renteria said. "I think the decision was quite easy for all of us."

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