Updated: April 16, 2014 6:14AM
Swingman Carlos Villanueva, the likely fifth starter in place of the injured Jake Arrieta, had his best outing of the spring Friday, retiring nine of the 12 batters he faced. The other three reached on extra-base hits, leading to the lone run he allowed. He’s given up just two runs in his last two outings (5 2⁄3 innings).
De facto third baseman Donnie Murphy, a natural shortstop who made two starts there for the Cubs last season, made his first start of the spring there. “Having somebody who can play a lot of infield positions is always a bonus,” said Murphy, who could join Luis Valbuena in a third-base platoon. “It’s good to get some work there just in case they need it.”
The Cubs optioned right-hander Dallas Beeler to Class AAA Iowa and reassigned right-hander Marcus Hatley to minor-league camp, trimming the big-league camp roster to 54. Also, right-hander Marcos Mateo, who was returned by the Diamondbacks three months after being selected in the Rule 5 draft, joined the Cubs’ minor-league camp.
Third baseman Mike Olt, who hasn’t played anywhere but first base because of early-camp shoulder soreness, could be at third in the next few days after being allowed to throw across the diamond in practice for the first time. As for his hitting, Olt homered twice Wednesday against the Mariners, but manager Rick Renteria sounded more impressed with Olt delivering an RBI single after getting brushed back twice later in that game. “He’s showing everybody that he’s back on track as to who he was in the past,” he said.
Cubs (ss) vs. Mets in Las Vegas, 3:05 p.m., Ch. 9, Tsuyoshi Wada vs. Bartolo Colon; Cubs (ss) at Royals, Surprise, Ariz., 3:05 p.m., 720-AM, Jeff Samardzija vs. James Shields.