Carlos Villanueva probably bullpen-bound once Matt Garza rejoins Cubs
BY GORDON WITTENMYER email@example.com May 14, 2013 10:51PM
CHICAGO, IL- MAY 14: Starting pitcher Carlos Villanueva #33 of the Chicago Cubs stands on the mound as Carlos Gonzalez #5 of the Colorado Rockies rounds the bases after hitting a solo home run during the third inning on May 14, 2013 at Wrigley Field in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by Brian Kersey/Getty Images)
The facts: 7:05 p.m., CSN, 720-AM.
The starters: Jon Garland
(3-3, 4.83 ERA) vs. Jeff
Samardzija (1-5, 3.70).
Updated: June 16, 2013 6:48AM
Cubs manager Dale Sveum didn’t rule out the possibility of using a six-man rotation temporarily when pitcher Matt Garza returns from the disabled list in the next week or two.
‘‘We haven’t really looked at it deeply, but it could happen,’’ he said of what he suggested would be a matchup-dictated decision.
More likely, obvious-choice swingman Carlos Villanueva will be moved to the bullpen to accommodate Garza. Already in a rough stretch, Villanueva (1-3) had his worst start of the year Tuesday against the Colorado Rockies, allowing seven runs and 12 hits in five innings in a 9-4 Cubs loss.
Of Villanueva’s 245 career relief appearances, Sveum said, ‘‘He’s done it more than anybody else has.’’
One more rehab start or two for Garza?
‘‘I’m just looking forward to the next one,’’ he said, ‘‘and after Thursday I’ll make a decision. They want me to go deeper into games, and that’s what I guess I have to do now.’’
If Garza pitches six innings for Class AAA Iowa, Sveum said it would be an easier decision to activate him for next week’s series in Pittsburgh.
‘‘But if not, we’re all going to be in on this whole decision,’’ Sveum said. ‘‘He’s going to be in on it; we all are. We’ve got to cross that bridge after he pitches on Thursday.’’
How much say does Garza have?
‘‘I would say a lot,’’ Garza said, ‘‘based on it’s kind of my job. But all in all, it comes down to what the organization wants to do. Obviously, we’re going to sit down and talk about it after the next outing and go from there. It’s all based on how I respond and how I feel and how comfortable I am.’’
Arodys Vizcaino, the high-end pitching prospect recovering from Tommy John surgery, has joined the team for his final few bullpen sessions before starting work in games, probably sometime this month. Barring setback, he could return from the DL this season.
◆ Third baseman Luis Valbuena (jammed finger) will return to the lineup Wednesday, Sveum said.