2/25 Villanueva’s quick outing

Carlos Villanueva’s Cubs debut lasted less than one inning. The right-hander, who was making his Cactus League debut, had to be lifted after reaching his pitch limit against five batters. It was all Dee Gordon’s fault. The Dodgers’ leadoff man battled Villanueva in a lengthy 16-pitch at-bat.

“It happens,” Villanueva said. “In a perfect world, it would’ve been six up, six down. It made me focus. I got him out, but after that, maybe I lost a little bit of focus.”

Gordon was finally called out on strikes but Villanueva then walked the next two batters. One out later, Nick Punto hit a two-run single and Villanueva was lifted.

“I was missing down, which, if you’re going miss, you’d rather miss down there,” he said. “It’s spring, first game, and obviously, my sequences will be a little different during the season. Right now, it’s getting to know my surroundings, getting to know hitters again. I feel good and we’ll take it from there.”

Villanueva was scheduled to throw 30 pitches.

“Throwing 16 to the first batter didn’t help,” he said. “Being a competitor, you don’t want to come out in the first inning. I understand — it’s time to build up, time to work on things. I’m satisfied — obviously, not with the results but with how I feel. We’ll take it from there.”

— Carrie Muskat

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