Villar continues rise; Abad struggling

Villar continues rise; Abad struggling

VIERA, Fla. -- Right-hander Henry Villar has helped his chances of making the club with a terrific spring performance. He threw two more scoreless innings Tuesday against the Nationals, striking out two batters, to lower his ERA to 1.80.

Villar, who made the jump from Double-A to the Majors last year, has thrown two innings in his past four spring outings, pushing his Grapefruit League total to 12 frames. He's allowed three hits, one walk and one earned run and struck out eight batters in that span.

"He's had a great spring and is throwing the ball well and doing a really good job," manager Brad Mills said.

Meanwhile, left-hander Fernando Abad continued his Spring Training struggles Tuesday, allowing four hits and two runs in one inning. He gave up a two-run, tie-breaking homer to Michael Morse in the eighth inning to suffer the loss.

Abad, competing for a left-handed bullpen spot, has allowed 14 hits and seven earned runs while striking out nine batters in 6 2/3 innings this spring after an eye-opening Winter League performance. Mills said he's had trouble locating his fastball.

"They're going to go back to the drawing board and will work from there, and there's no reason to think he won't come around and be fine," Mills said.