2/15 Friday’s first watch

* Carlos Villanueva prepared himself this spring to start and could do so if Matt Garza isn’t ready to go Opening Day. The Cubs seem to be leaning toward using Villanueva out of the bullpen.

“I’m a starter, and I’ve always seen myself as a starter,” Villanueva said. “I think when given the opportunity to start, I think I’ve handled myself well. To me, it’s the first week of spring. I’ve prepared myself for a long season and for a lot of innings. How will those innings come? In the end, it’ll be determined by my performance, my health and not only by me and other guys, too.”

Villanueva isn’t going to pout if he’s not in the rotation — at least, not publicly.

“I’m not going to dwell on it,” he said. “I know I’ll have to talk about it, even though I prefer not to. It is what it is. It would be nice to come in one year and know exactly the role but I guess some guys like Felix Hernandez get paid the largest contract in history and some guys have to battle it out.”

In his career, Villanueva is 16-22 with a 4.80 ERA in 56 starts, and 17-13 with six saves and a 3.76 ERA in 245 relief appearances.

* Garza, Edwin Jackson, Jeff Samardzija and Carlos Marmol are scheduled to throw their second bullpens in camp on Friday at Fitch Park.

* Position players report on Saturday, and Sunday’s full squad workout will be a little later than usual. Theo Epstein, Tom Ricketts and Dale Sveum will address the players before Sunday’s workout.

* There could be some uniform number switches before Opening Day. Stay tuned.

— Carrie Muskat


Pingback: Cubs “leaning toward” using Carlos Villanueva as reliever | HardballTalk

Why would Garza not be able to go opening day? Did I miss something? I thought this guy was a horse. Did he not have the final 25% of the 2012 season and then the entire off season to heal from an injury that was not all that serious to begin with? Sounds to me as if the Cubs are babying this guy. The Matt Garza I`ve observed over the years would not take kindly to being treated this way.

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