Descalso continues bid for starting second base job

Descalso continues bid for starting second base job

Credit: Getty Images

ST LOUIS, MO - OCTOBER 18: Daniel Descalso #33 of the St. Louis Cardinals throws out Hunter Pence #8 of the San Francisco Giants at first base in the fifth inning in Game Four of the National League Championship Series at Busch Stadium on October 18, 2012 in St Louis, Missouri. (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)

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by Brian Feldman / BaseballStL

KMOV.com

Posted on February 20, 2013 at 10:08 AM

Updated Saturday, Nov 2 at 5:54 AM

(BaseballStL) -- Cardinals General Manager John Mozeliak said in the offseason that Descalso is likely to get the bulk of the playing time at second base to start the year, but he did not say anything about the end of the season or beyond. 

It is a furious competition for playing time at that spot as super utility player Matt Carpenter is working to make the transition over there. 

Descalso was actually a pretty nice prospect coming up the system, a .300 hitter who played fine defense in the minor leagues.  The defense has absolutely translated.  The bat, however, has not.  In 2012, Descalso hit just .227 with a .303 on-base percentage.  He was not all that better in the postseason (.234/.260) despite coming through with a few crucial hits - Game 5 of the NLDS against Washington comes to mind. 

Hitting coach John Mabry told BJ Rains he believes Descalso is primed for a breakout season though.  And it would certainly be a good time for one.  With a bat like Matt Carpenter, which the team is clearly trying to force into the lineup anyway it can and a first round pick waiting in the wings (Kolten Wong), there is no time like the present for Descalso.

He is guaranteed little beyond the first few months of the season.  Should he continue to hit in the low .220s  - and Carpenter/Wong are hitting like they always have - it would seem logical that either one of them would get the bulk of the playing time at second base in the second half of the season.  But should Descalso hit in April, May and June?  Should he become that .300 hitter the Cards saw in AAA a few years ago?  That would create an interesting situation come July, August and September.  

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