2/26 Tuesday extra bases
* Carlos Villanueva, obviously, was expected to go two innings on Monday but couldn’t finish the first because of a 16-pitch at-bat against Dodgers leadoff man Dee Gordon.
“That’s a manager’s or starting pitcher’s worst nightmare,” Dale Sveum said of Villanueva’s first batter. “You still need three outs and you’re already at 15 pitches and figure you have to throw 10 more. He was actually keeping the ball down and threw some really good pitches that didn’t get called that changed the whole rest of that inning around, too.”
Villanueva did get Gordon to strike out, then walked the next two batters. One out later, Nick Punto hit a two-run single and Villanueva was lifted. The right-hander will stay in the Cubs’ Cactus League rotation, and is being built up to start this spring.
* Outfielder Darnell McDonald, a non-roster invitee, has been impressive so far.
“He’s obviously been swinging the bat well,” Sveum said. “He’s killed left-handed pitching in his career. He’s in the mix for one of those spots [on the bench]. He’s the ultimate professional, he really works hard and he’s a great guy. We’re just glad to have him in camp.”
* Matt Garza, sidelined with a strained left lat, could begin tossing on Thursday. He has not done any baseball activities since Feb. 17.
* So far, Junior Lake has looked better in games than in practice. Not many players can do that.
“He looks better in games than he does when he’s doing his work,” Sveum said. “It’s like the game speeds up for him in [batting practice] and he slows it down in the game. That’s always a nice asset to have.”
* Anthony Rizzo’s last day in Cubs camp will be March 3, and then he will join Team Italy for the World Baseball Classic.
* Brooks Raley will start Wednesday for the Cubs when they play host to the Dodgers, and Scott Feldman will make his Cubs debut Thursday against the Athletics. Here’s the early lineup:
– Carrie Muskat