Schumaker prepared for utility role

Schumaker prepared for utility role

MIAMI -- Skip Schumaker has started over 50 games for the Cardinals at second base this season, but the 31-year-old is prepared to play all over the field throughout the final two months of the season.

Schumaker knows the acquisition of Rafael Furcal means Ryan Theriot will see more time at second base. But the seven-year veteran knows his ability to play the outfield will help him become a valuable utility player for the Cardinals as they try to win the National League Central.

"It's always been my role," Schumaker said. "I came up as an outfielder and my first four years in the big leagues were out there. That's kind of really my home still because second is still a transition. Adding a veteran guy who has been to the playoffs nine times like Furcal is obviously huge. Theriot is obviously a very good Major League player so it creates some options for Tony, and he's very good at using those options."

Schumaker was in Thursday's starting lineup as the second baseman but he would not be surprised if he saw some time in the outfield over the four-game series against the Marlins.

"I feel like I can do the outfield thing maybe even better than the infield thing," Schumaker said. "It just creates versatility and more at-bats for you. It helps you stick around a little bit longer in the big leagues. I'm very comfortable in both spots now."

Whether it is in the infield or the outfield, Schumaker knows how important it is to help the Cardinals every time he gets an opportunity, and he is hoping to do that this weekend against the Marlins.

"Every game is important to us now," Schumaker said. "We're almost on a sprint to the finish line here. When you're in second place, every game counts. It doesn't matter if it's against Milwaukee, Florida or any other team, you have to win every single game. We've got a big challenge here because their starting pitching is very good but hopefully we can step it up and win the series."