Track record will play a role in the decision, Yost stressed again Thursday. That would seem to bode well for pitchers like Bush, Capuano and Vargas, who have much more big league service time than Parra or Villanueva. Gallardo was considered a lock for the rotation before undergoing knee surgery on Tuesday. He should be healthy again in mid-March.Yost insisted several times that Villanueva will be right in the mix for both a spot in the starting rotation and the bullpen. Maddux was asked where he thinks Villanueva best fits. "He has the pitches to start, he has the stuff to go short and he has the resiliency to go back-to-back [days]," Maddux said. "So he can do it all, he's an all-encompassing utility pitcher. Is he one of our best five starters? Probably. Is he one of our five best relievers? Yes. So he can fill any role." Maddux put it in the "good problem" category. For now, Villanueva will be stretched out along with the rest of the starting pitchers, and the Brewers figure they can have the starters pitch four times in Spring Training games before the innings get tight. After that, some may have to get their innings in Minor League games. Wait for the "smoke to clear," Yost urged. "I'm not saying by any stretch of the imagination that he's not going to make the team," Yost said of Villanueva. "I'm just saying that we are open-minded enough that we have to control our depth. ... We did that for years and years in Atlanta. We'd send a guy that was better than the guy we had [in the big leagues] down to Triple-A. Atlanta won 14 straight division championships, so we weren't really in a building mode." Villanueva is waiting as well. "This year, I'm more prepared to go either way," Villanueva said. "If they want me to start, I will start. I've always preferred to start because that's what I've done my whole life. But I'm mentally prepared to be a reliever, and I can do that, too. "I'm ready to do whatever they want me to do."
Adam McCalvy is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.