It happens every year, and it’s always a bummer – the first Spring Training injury befell Christian Villanueva, who broke his right fibula on a chopper and is going to be out a number of months (Muskat, Rogers).

It’s terrible timing for Villanueva, who was trying to win a job on the Cubs’ bench. He doesn’t get included much in those discussions around here, but he probably should have been given a side mention or two, considering the still-extant potential in his bat, and his excellent glove at third base. In all likelihood, though, he was not going to make the big league team, which, because he’s already on the 40-man roster but out of options, was going to leave the Cubs with a decision.

Now the decision’s been made for them, and Villanueva will probably be placed on the 60-day disabled list. He’ll accrue big league service time while on the DL, but that’s probably bitter solace for a guy trying to finally break through to the bigs. The bitter solace for the Cubs is that he can stay in the organization a while longer as he rehabs, and the Cubs won’t have to make a waiver/outright decision until after he’s healed and played in the minors for a while. But, then, it’s not like it’s a good thing, since he’s been seriously injured in the process.

Just a crummy situation for Villanueva, and a hit to the Cubs’ still-massive depth. An injury to Kris Bryant would probably first be covered by guys like Javy Baez and Tommy La Stella, but Villanueva really did have the potential to be a long-term fill-in, if needed, and not kill the Cubs. Now we’ll just have to hope he can work his way back by June or so, and go from there.



The other news bit out of camp today is that Shane Victorino, with the Cubs on a minor league deal and trying to win a job on the bench, is back to being a switch hitter (Wittenmyer). The 35-year-old had batted righty only for the last two years because of back issues (issues that cost him a lot of playing time and, in theory, effectiveness), but he says he feels better, and is back to switch hitting. That could be a boon to his chances of making the team – and, like I said before, a healthy, effective Victorino, even at 35, and even with the Cubs’ outfield depth, would be a great addition on the Cubs’ bench. It’s just, well, those questions have to be answered first.

Elsewhere in random fun around Cubs Spring Training …

Batting practice from some boppers:

It’s no Bunt Tourney, but it’s a competition at least:

VineLine says the David Ross, Addison Russell, Ben Zobrist, Jorge Soler team won, by the way. (They’ve got a bunch more fun stuff on Twitter, by the way. Check ’em out.)



Rick Sutcliffe is digging pitching prospect Ryan Williams:

That’s a good Pierce Johnson shot:

Joe gonna Joe:




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