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Carlos Villanueva Named Cubs' Fifth Starter; Chris Rusin To Iowa

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The biggest roster battle in spring training is over as the veteran Villanueva wins the final spot in the rotation.

David Banks-USA TODAY Sports

Options, options, options. Chris Rusin had them and Carlos Villanueva didn't. That was likely the deciding factor in the Cubs making Villanueva the fifth starter and sending Chris Rusin down to Iowa.

Rusin had youth and being left-handed going for him and throughout most of spring training, he had out-pitched Villanueva, who a pretty mediocre spring. But Rusin didn't help himself any by getting shelled for nine runs on ten hits, including four home runs, over only 2.2 innings on Wednesday against the Diamondbacks. That poor outing likely ended any chance that the Cubs would take Rusin north with them and risk exposing Villanueva to waivers.

With that, the Cubs opening rotation is set with Jeff Samardzija, Travis Wood, Edwin Jackson, Jason Hammel and Carlos Villanueva.