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Villanueva can relate to Garza's situation

DENVER -- A year ago, Cubs starter Carlos Villanueva was unsure where he would spend the next season, a position somewhat similar to what Matt Garza is enduring.

As a free agent after spending two years with the Blue Jays, Villanueva said the questions from not only the media but friends and family took a mental toll on him.

"It's been impressive the way [Garza's] handled it," Villanueva said Saturday night. "Last year I went through a little bit of something like that with my free agency, being a free agent for the first time. The questions started in August and I'll be honest with you, by the end of the year I was more mentally drained than physically."

Teammates have praised Garza for the way he's handled the constant trade rumors, and Villanueva said he's also set a strong example for other players to follow if they ever find themselves in a similar spot.

"He's a very tough man, mentally and physically," Villanueva said. "He's been an example for not only young guys, but older guys too that might go through that again in their careers. It's not easy, it's not easy and you try to block it out of your mind going over the same questions and same things every day."

Ian McCue is an associate reporter for
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