No doubt there are many Cubs fans who never thought they'd see Jeff Samardzija starting on Opening Day for the team.

But through a series of events and Samardzija's own hard work and perseverance, he's scheduled to be on the PNC Park mound in Pittsburgh on Monday as the Cubs begin the 2013 season against the Pirates.

You might think that would be cause for extra excitement or satisfaction for Samardzija. He says no.

"Very minimally, I'd say," he said recently at HoHoKam Park in Mesa, Ariz. "I'd say it's definitely positive. That would be the best way to describe it.

"You think about all the hard work you're doing, you did in the off-season, you did in the previous years. It's putting you in the right direction. That always gives you a little extra drive, a little extra energy to work harder when you have those good things happen. That's definitely exciting.

"I think I'll be content and happy if the whole season goes as planned, where you start it from the beginning and end it competing for a playoff spot in September.

"I think then I'll be able to rest my hat and say it was successful. I'm just happy with where I'm at right now, where my body and arm are and just really excited to get this season going."