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Amid injuries, Villanueva ready for any role

Amid injuries, Villanueva ready for any role

Amid injuries, Villanueva ready for any role
MILWAUKEE -- With the plan of attack on the mound for the Blue Jays up in the air with recent injuries to three starters -- Brandon Morrow, Drew Hutchison and Kyle Drabek -- the team's bullpen has been forced to prepare for anything.

But according to right-hander Carlos Villanueva, he and his fellow relievers have the easy job.

"It's something you can't control," Villanueva said. "Because we've had such sudden injuries, that really puts the jam on the whole front office. You can't replace three of your starters in a day.

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"I understand how difficult their job is, too, so we have to be understanding sometimes as to what they go through. Whatever they do, they're going to do what's best for the team, and at the end of the day, that's what matters."

Manager John Farrell confirmed that Wednesday's game against the Brewers would be a "bullpen day," but as of the first pitch on Tuesday, Farrell still didn't know who was going to start.

That decision was contingent on how deep Tuesday's starter Jesse Chavez went and which relievers were needed to finish the game. Villanueva said he doesn't care what Farrell and the other coaches ask of him, including a possible start.

"For me, starting in the first inning, I prepare the same way," Villanueva said. "I'm not very different. I'm not going to be all quiet and focused because you know what, if you want me to throw the ball, I told them, 'Give me the ball and I'll start.'

"It's not that big of a deal to me. I'll prepare myself, go over the lineup and let's do it. I've been doing this for a while now. I understand what I can do, and if I'm out there, hopefully the team knows they have a good chance of winning the ballgame, and that's all I care about."

Villanueva, who entered Tuesday with a 3.48 ERA and 32 strikeouts in 31 innings, previously spent five seasons in Milwaukee. There, he made his mark as a flexible pitcher who could throw five innings or close out a game.

He also said he learned from former Brewers closer Trevor Hoffman to respect the game and take advantage of every opportunity that presents itself, no matter the capacity. That lesson is something he's shared with his new team and bullpen mates, and is important to remember as the Blue Jays work through their injury issues.

"I wouldn't want to hear anybody being selfish or complaining, because I'll be the first to guy to make sure that they shut their mouth," Villanueva said. "We work together as a unit, and we go out there and prepare and we do whatever we have to do complete the game whatever way we can."

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