Christian Villanueva was acquired by the Cubs at the July trading deadline in 2012, along with Kyle Hendricks, for Ryan Dempster.
That deal's worked out well for the Cubs with the performance of Hendricks, but not so well for Villanueva. He's a good defensive player who's hit all right, but nothing spectacular, in the minor leagues, not even enough for a September cup of coffee.
This year was going to be key for him. He's out of options and is also pretty well down on the Cubs' infield depth chart.
And now, he's going to miss much of this season due to an unfortunate injury suffered at camp Sunday:
I feel badly for Villanueva, who, as Maddon says, seems like a good guy and always worked hard. I've seen him play and hit well in spring training games, but now, it will be tough for him to come back. He'll turn 25 in June.
Undoubtedly, the Cubs will place him on the 60-day disabled list, which will open up a spot on the 40-man roster. That spot probably will remain vacant until closer to Opening Day, in case a non-roster player wins a spot on the 25-man roster.