Tuesday, March 12, 2013
Carpenter nailing down second base?
By Jason Catania
While Rafael Furcal's Tommy John surgery has left a veritable hole at shortstop for the St. Louis Cardinals, at least the club does have options on the other side of the infield.While second base has long been a problem spot for the Cardinals -- Fernando Vina was the team's last legitimate keystoner -- there are a few names in the mix heading into 2013.
One of them is Daniel Descalso, who finished last season as the everyday second baseman, but the career .245 hitter is known more for his defense than his bat. The more interesting possibility, then, is second-year player Matt Carpenter, who spent most of 2012 filling in at first base, third base and the outfield. The 27-year-old did get into five games at second with the Cards a year ago, but it was more of an experiment at the time than anything else, especially for a player who had never played the position otherwise in his pro career.
Over the winter, St. Louis' staff told Carpenter to be ready to get some reps at second this spring, and he's come prepared. As the Post-Dispatch's Derrick Goold writes, Carpenter has started six games this spring, all of them at second. The transition appears to be going well, too, as he's shown a knack for the footwork and positioning and hasn't made an error.
This offseason, the Cardinals traded away Skip Schumaker, who had split duty as an outfielder and second baseman in the past, and 2011 first-round pick Kolten Wong, who may be the long-term solution, needs at least a few more months of minor league seasoning, so Carpenter could be key to helping St. Louis shore up at least one of its middle infield positions.