Originally posted on Fox Sports Midwest  |  Last updated 2/26/13
JUPITER, Fla. Matt Carpenter wasn't sure how to react when he moved from second base back over to first base for the final few innings of Sunday's spring training game. Carpenter has concentrated so hard on learning to play second base this spring that playing his more normal spot of first base almost seemed too easy. "It's funny," Carpenter said. "Going to my other positions now after playing second base is almost like a day off." The Cardinals sent Carpenter home last winter with a homework assignment. They wanted the corner infielder and outfielder to learn to play second base, hoping to find a way to get his bat into the lineup on a more regular basis. Carpenter took ground balls daily with his dad in the Houston area and arrived at spring training two weeks early for instruction from infield coach Jose Oquendo. And those watching have been impressed with his progress so far. "He's looked good," said manager Mike Matheny. "He's made the plays. There's so many little things to learn that you can't even go through all of them as your practicing but the things you figure out on the fly and then kind of bring them up to him. "He's making all the plays he's been asked to make. He's done a nice job." Carpenter entered as a defensive replacement at second base in the spring opener on Saturday and fielded the only ground ball hit his way. He started at second base Sunday before moving to first base later in the game. The former TCU product fielded a routine grounder at second base in the first inning before starting a nifty double play his first of the spring by ranging up the middle and making a flip to shortstop Ronny Cedeno at the bag. He then made a nice stop by going to his right and dropping to a knee to field a grounder and get the out at first. "Definitely getting out there in the games you start to get more comfortable and get in the rhythm of things that have happened," Carpenter said. "Communicating with your shortstop, all those things. I definitely feel comfortable but there's still a lot of time left. "There's some scenarios that haven't come up yet, I haven't actually turned a double play myself. I've fielded it and flipped one, but the comfort level is getting there and it will get better with the experience." Carpenter went 2-for-4 at the plate with a double Monday and looked good in live batting practice sessions before games started. And as important as his defense will be, he knows the switch to second base won't work if he doesn't hit. "That's probably the hardest thing, you have so much going on plus you want to focus on having good at-bats as well because that's the whole reason," Carpenter said. "Stealing a quote from Skip (Schumaker), but if I don't hit, none of this is worth it so I have to find a way to get it all done." The Cardinals made a similar switch with Schumaker prior to the 2009 season but Schumaker had only played the outfield with the Cardinals. Carpenter's transition would seemingly be much easier since he has plenty of experience fielding ground balls at first and third base. Carpenter is battling with a group that includes Dan Descalso for playing time at second base. General manager John Mozeliak even said prior to camp that the job was Descalso's to lose based on what he's done the past two seasons. But as each day passes and each grounder or situation comes his way, Carpenter continues to get more and more comfortable at his new position. And he just may work his way into playing time at second base once the season starts April 1. "It's just like anything, the more reps you get the more comfortable you'll get," Carpenter said. "I'm excited about getting the opportunity to keep playing and seeing those sorts of plays and seeing how I react to them. "The last thing to come is when you go out there and you don't have to think about what you're doing, you just play. Each day is better. I think with more repetitions my comfort level will only increase." And that could be real good news for the Cardinals.
GET THE YARDBARKER APP:
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

Aaron Judge chips tooth in postgame celebration

Odell Beckham Jr. wants to be NFL's highest-paid player

John Elway confirms Broncos were interested in Tony Romo

Mike Tomlin: 'Consequences' for Steelers in Bell's absence

Clay Helton says OJ Simpson would not be allowed at USC practice

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

It’s ‘obvious’ Panthers have ‘big plans’ for Christian McCaffrey?

Kyle Shanahan claps back at Matt Ryan

The Astros are going from really good to possibly great

John Harbaugh: Ravens exploring signing Kaepernick

Bryce Harper blames ejection, meltdown on pregame playlist

Defining Darvish: Is a deadline deal looming?

The 'Old Tom Brady is still the Ol' Tom Brady' quiz

BIG3 Week 6: Should we begin the MVP discussion as we head to Dallas?

Three Up, Three Down: Adrian Beltre is a national treasure

The 10 craziest NFL offseason stories

Box Score 7/27: USMNT brings home the Gold Cup

The 'Cooperstown: The New Class' quiz

For the revitalized Pirates, trade deadline has newfound meaning

Every MLB team's best and worst deadline trade from the last 25 years

The 'Kyrie revolts against the King' quiz

Box Score 7/26: Nothing but grand slams

The most memorable moments from the class of 2017 Baseball Hall of Fame inductees

BIG3 Ref Hotline Bling: James White slams the phone down

MLB News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Yardbarker Privacy Policy and Terms of Service. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.
the YARDBARKER app
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

BIG3 Week 6: Should we begin the MVP discussion as we head to Dallas?

The 'Old Tom Brady is still the Ol' Tom Brady' quiz

The 10 craziest NFL offseason stories

For the revitalized Pirates, trade deadline has newfound meaning

The 'Cooperstown: The New Class' quiz

The 'Kyrie revolts against the King' quiz

BIG3 Ref Hotline Bling: James White slams the phone down

The 'When George Brett went completely batty' quiz

Finding the possible Achilles' heel for baseball’s best teams

Getaway Day: A pair of aces get lost in the shuffle

Today's Best Stuff
For Publishers
Company Info
Help
Follow Yardbarker