Cubs “leaning toward” using Carlos Villanueva as reliever

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When the Cubs signed Carlos Villanueva to a two-year, $10 million deal in December it was assumed that he’d be in the starting rotation, but now Carrie Muskat of MLB.com writes that they “seem to be leaning toward using Villanueva out of the bullpen.”

Villanueva said all the right things about filling whatever role is asked of him, but did tell Muskat: “I’m a starter and I’ve always seen myself as a starter.”

Matt Garza, Edwin Jackson, Jeff Samardzija, and Scott Feldman are locked in as starters, so Villanueva’s chances of joining them in the rotation depend mostly on Scott Baker’s recovery from elbow surgery and partly on how impressive Travis Wood looks in camp.

Video: Willy Adames takes Chris Sale yard for first major league homer

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Rays shortstop prospect Willy Adames took Red Sox starter and 2017 AL Cy Young Award runner-up Chris Sale yard for his first major league home run on Tuesday night. It was his second major league at-bat. The dinger cut the Rays’ deficit to 3-1.

The Rays called Adames up from Triple-A Durham ahead of Tuesday’s game. Adames is the Rays’ No. 2 prospect and No. 22 in baseball, according to MLB Pipeline. With Durham, he hit .311/.387/.466 with four home runs and 25 RBI in 173 plate appearances.

Manager Kevin Cash said that Adames is only going to be with the Rays for two or three days while Joey Wendle is on paternity leave, Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times reported. Adames is making his case to stay longer.