Villanueva a hit in Mexico homecoming

Third baseman was only Mexican-born player on either Monterrey series roster

May 6th, 2018

MONTERREY, Mexico -- went hitless in this weekend's Mexico Series. He was a smash hit in his home country, nonetheless.
Villanueva, the only Mexican-born player on either roster, finished the series 0-for-11 with a walk. That didn't stop him from soaking in the sights and sounds of a festive weekend in Monterrey -- especially with Sunday's 3-0 victory over the Dodgers to secure the series.
"It wasn't really about me," Villanueva said. "I'm enjoying the wins, I'm enjoying the fact that we won the series, the fact that I got to play in front of my family, my friends and all the Mexican people."
A Guadalajara native, Villanueva had dozens of family members in attendance this weekend. He received the biggest ovation when rosters were formally introduced on Friday night, and he was feted loudly during all 12 of his plate appearances.
Yes, he later admitted, he was pressing.
"I definitely wanted to put on my show, wanted to leave my mark," Villanueva said. "Unfortunately I wasn't able to, but again, the biggest thing is that we were able to get the wins."

Both clubs are steeped in tradition in Mexico. The Dodgers are arguably the country's most popular team, but the Padres feel as though they're starting to put a dent in that.
Villanueva is coming off a Rookie of the Month Award-winning April, and he's looking to entrench himself as the Padres' third baseman of the future. A callup for second baseman Luis Urias could be imminent, too. Urias, the club's No. 3 prospect and No. 35 overall, is also Mexican-born, as is fellow youngster Tirso Ornelas, an 18-year-old outfielder holding his own in the Midwest League.
"With Christian Villanueva on our club -- and I think it's only a matter of time before Luis Urias, maybe Tirso Ornelas [eventually] -- I think maybe that starts to shift in time, when you see really great Mexican-born position players play for the Padres," Padres manager Andy Green said. "The reception was warm for us."
It was especially warm for Villanueva, who was asked to describe his lasting image of the weekend.
"Seeing the fans, seeing the energy, seeing this stadium full of people and full of life and hearing everyone chanting 'Padres,'" Villanueva said. "We know how much Mexican fans love the Dodgers, so to hear [Padres] and hear everyone chanting and supporting us, it was unbelievable."