(BaseballStL) -- When it was announced Rafael Furcal would miss the 2013 season in spring training, the Cardinals were very quick to appoint September/October sensation Pete Kozma as his replacement for the year. They said he had earned the opportunity based on what he’d done the previous fall.
Well here we are in late August and Kozma is limping, not literally, to the finish line with a .218 batting average to go along with a .275 on-base percentage.
In a search to find offense at the position, the Cardinals have been deploying utility infielder Daniel Descalso there more and more often. He’s someone who, when he first came up to St. Louis, was a second baseman primarily but had the ability to play third, too.
But shortstop? Nah. He was viewed as an emergency option there but nothing more.
33 appearances later and it’s safe to say Descalso is much more than just an emergency option. He’s a quasi-starter as he’s starting at shortstop just as much as Kozma is. So does that mean he’s made the transition to short?
“If I’m playing short then I guess I’m a shortstop,” Descalso said bluntly. “I’ve never had a problem with making the throw (from shortstop to first base). It’s just a different position. There are different responsibilities, different angles. It’s just different, something I hadn’t done before until I got up here.”
But isn’t the shortstop the leader of the defense? Isn’t that person supposed to be the quarterback who puts everyone else on the infield in the right spot?
“I took care of some of that stuff when I was at second base as far as covering on steals and changing on hit and runs and knowing bunt coverages and stuff. I’ve always known what each spot on the diamond is supposed to do because I’ve played all three of them so that’s not really new for me, I’ve just been playing more over there (shortstop) this year,” Descalso said.
The 26-year old from Redwood City, California hasn’t hit as well as he’d like this year (.244 avg, .300 on-base percentages) but he is still getting plenty of chances to play. And once the playoffs get here, there’s a very legitimate chance he could find himself in the starting lineup over Kozma with the season on the line.