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Villanueva plans to start next year -- in Toronto or elsewhere

The SportsXchange

Carlos Villanueva has given the Toronto Blue Jays a decision to make.

He has come out of the bullpen for the second season in a row to provide help in the rotation. This year, Toronto lost three starters in a span of four games in June.

Do the Blue Jays want to use him in the rotation next season? They haven't said. And their decision could determine whether he comes back.

Villanueva can become a free agent at the end of the season, and he feels he has earned a chance to start in some team's rotation.

When manager John Farrell was asked if he would like to have Villanueva in the rotation next season, he was non-committal.

"That question will be answered in good time," Farrell said after Villanueva got the decision Thursday the Blue Jays' 2-0 win over the Tampa Bay Rays. "If nothing is done before the end of the season, he has earned his right to test the market. We have every intention to keep in him the rotation until the end of the season."

Villanueva said, "If the Blue Jays want me, they'll have the first option. The way I've been treated here, it would be disrespectful for me not to consider coming back if they want me back."

But teams that offer him a chance to start next season will have the advantage in acquiring him.

"Right now, I am enjoying myself as a starter," he said. "As long as I can stay healthy, I don't see a reason why I couldn't be a starter and help somebody out in a starting role. I want a chance to do it. Right now, I want to be a starter, and I think I've made that clear. From a selfish point of view, I would like to have the opportunity to start for a full season and see what I can do for a full year."

In 11 starts this year, he is 5-4 with a 3.03 ERA. Overall, he is 7-4 with a 3.10 ERA.
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