Villanueva to start season in starting rotation

MESA, Ariz. -- Carlos Villanueva has been asked multiple times since he arrived in Cubs camp about starting vs. relieving. He won't have to deal with that topic for at least the first month.

On Sunday, Cubs manager Dale Sveum said Villanueva will be in the rotation to start the season because of injuries to Matt Garza and Scott Baker.

"I'm kind of bummed out for Garza, knowing how he missed time last year at the end," Villanueva said Monday. "It's not the way you want to start the season."

Garza is expected to miss the first month as he recovers from a strained left lat.

"We'll need him," Villanueva said of Garza. "We'll need him later on. I'd rather him be 100 percent healthy and not rush into anything and feel bad. He's going to miss a week or two weeks, then so be it. Nobody really remembers the beginning, they remember the stretch run. As long as he's 100 percent ready for that, we're ready to have him back. For us in position now, we have to take advantage of the opportunity and help the team win."

In his career, Villanueva has made 56 starts, and compiled a 16-22 record and 4.80 ERA. As a reliever, he has a 3.76 ERA in 245 games.