MESA, Ariz. -- Christian Villanueva loved soccer when he was growing up in Guadalajara, Mexico. There were three or four professional teams near him he followed.
But Villanueva's father played semi-professional baseball and that inspired him. At the age of 9, Villanueva switched sports. Now, he's in the Cubs' big league camp, and on Tuesday, the 21-year-old prospect hit a solo home run against the Rockies.
Villanueva was batting .285 at Class A Myrtle Beach when he was acquired from the Rangers in the Ryan Dempster trade last July. He joined the Cubs' Class A Daytona team, and hit.250 in 25 games. For the season, he hit 14 home runs and 24 doubles.
"I'm really excited to be here, to be part of this organization and spend some time with all the big leaguers," Villanueva said. "I'm happy to be here."
Does he miss soccer?
"Not really," Villanueva said. "I like to watch it now."