The manager, though, is giving up 33 to the pitcher, and will wear No. 4.
"He saw '33' on my cleats and he offered it," Villanueva said. "I didn't plan it that way."
The two were together on the Brewers, including the 2008 season when Sveum took over as interim manager. Sveum has worn Nos. 27, 7, 42, 8, 9, 6, 36, 17 and 11 in his playing career.
"I'm not a big numbers guy, so whatever I end up with is OK," Sveum said.
Catcher Dioner Navarro currently has No. 4, but he apparently is negotiating to get another number. How did Sveum end up with it?
"It's the first one that was available when I asked [clubhouse manager Tom Hellmann]," Sveum said.
His former Brewers teammate, Hall of Famer Paul Molitor, wore No. 4, which has since been retired by Milwaukee.
"I wouldn't be wearing it over there," Sveum said.
Sveum, Villanueva and Navarro were expected to keep their respective uniform numbers this spring, and make the change when the regular season starts.