JUPITER, Fla. – Dan Descalso knows what the numbers say. He also knows he’s a better hitter. And the left-handed hitting infielder hopes to prove that this season.
Descalso made an early favorable impression Sunday in his battle to win playing time at second base, launching a solo home run in the bottom of the fifth inning of the Cardinals’ 5-3 loss to the Boston Red Sox.
“The timing is still getting ironed out but it was nice to hit a ball hard in the first couple days just to get a little bit of confidence,” Descalso said. “Whether it gets caught or hit, I just wanted to square guys up.”
The left-handed hitting Descalso had a rough year at the plate in 2012, hitting just .227 after he hit a respectable .264 in 2011. His on-base percentage and slugging percentages were both down as well.
But Descalso made some adjustments late last season and started look much better at the plate in September and into October. He had the game-tying hit with two outs in the ninth inning in the Cardinals Game 5 comeback win in Washington in the NLDS.
Said manager Mike Matheny on Descalso’s improvements at the plate, “I said the same thing and I know our whole staff believes the same thing. He is a better hitter than what he showed last year and it’s all about continuing to get better. It will be fun to watch him improve on the little things.”
The Cardinals are throwing Matt Carpenter into the mix at second base but Descalso’s defense is much better. And if can get things going at the plate, the combination would make it hard for manager Mike Matheny to keep him off the field.
“I think so too,” Descalso said. “I’m confident in my defense and what I bring to the table there and I am confident that I can contribute more offensively this year. I feel like if I hit, I’ll play, but that’s just me.”