What was initially described as an open competition has now become a two-man fight to see who locks up second base for the Cardinals. Incumbent Skip Schumaker may have been the long shot all along, but another setback all but guarantees St. Louis will again have a new face manning the spot on Opening Day.
Schumaker appeared to strain the same muscle he did last October while batting, but the reports don’t look promising for the projected 4th outfielder. In addition to opening a potential roster spot, the dynamic in how manager Mike Matheny handles the next few weeks hopefully puts the pieces in place.
Any number of possibilities exist for the World Champs, but determining who fills out the bench will have to wait on the last remaining starting assignment. Tyler Greene factors in heavily given his lack of minor league options, but he certainly could stick as the back-up on the left side of the infield.
Make no mistake about it, Daniel Descalso finds himself squarely in position for more than just a platoon role. His experience last season and hitting this month makes the loss of Schumaker manageable at least as far as second base is concerned. When factoring in roster depth, however, the equation becomes much more complicated.
Injuries are part of the game, so it is up to Matheny and company to figure out the puzzle. Skip made things much easier given his skill set and is all but certain to regain that spot once healthy. As for the sudden hole in the outfield, the Cards are blessed with one saving grace.
St. Louis has time to give all candidates ample playing time before heading north to Springfield. With all three starting outfielders locked in, a few more innings off can only benefit keeping everyone healthy and fresh.
And given time is running out, nothing matters more than having all 25 guys at full strength before the calendar hits April.