It was probably the inevitable choice regardless, but when Matt Garza’s latest setback eliminated the final doubt, Jeff Samardzija was named the Cubs’ Opening Day starter by manager Dale Sveum on Sunday.

It’s a career first for the former Notre Dame football star, who last season made a successful transition from bullpen pitcher to powerful starting pitcher – an angry one by Sept. 8 when he was shut down against his will because of an innings limit.