Cards add righty Villanueva on Minor League deal

Veteran pitcher to compete for relief spot at camp, may provide rotation depth

Cards add righty Villanueva on Minor League deal

The Cardinals on Wednesday signed veteran pitcher Carlos Villanueva to a Minor League contract. Villanueva will be in big league camp at Spring Training as a non-roster player to compete for a spot.

A 31-year-old right-handed swing man who can work in the rotation or bullpen, Villanueva will be with his third National League Central team -- and fourth club overall. He has spent his nine-year career with the Brewers, Blue Jays and Cubs.

The past two seasons were spent in Chicago, where Villanueva was 5-7 with a 4.64 ERA in 42 games, including five starts, during 2014. Over 77 2/3 innings, he allowed 89 hits and 19 walks with 72 strikeouts.

Villanueva was more effective as a reliever, with a 2.64 ERA and .226 opponents batting average compared to a 1-4 record and 10.53 ERA as a starter while opponents batted .404.

St. Louis has a starting staff that already includes Adam Wainwright, Lance Lynn, Michael Wacha, John Lackey, Carlos Martinez and Marco Gonzales, with Jaime Garcia coming off an injury-shortened season. Villanueva could be a long shot to start in 2015, but he could bring added depth for the rotation while working from the bullpen.

Mark Sheldon is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Mark My Word, and follow him on Twitter @m_sheldon. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.