Greene looks likely to win second-base job

Greene looks likely to win second-base job

Greene looks likely to win second-base job
JUPITER, Fla. -- Though the club has not made any sort of pronouncement about who will be the starting second baseman, recent Spring Training lineups would suggest that there actually remains very little suspense.

In Wednesday's lineup, which looked like the one manager Mike Matheny is expected to use for the season opener, Tyler Greene's name was eighth, and next to his name was the second base designation.

Before Grapefruit League games even began, the Cardinals explained that they'd give Greene more playing time at second than Skip Schumaker or Daniel Descalso -- the other two candidates -- because Greene lacked experience at the position. That held true early, and the fact that it remains the same this late in camp suggests that the Cardinals want to see him start the year at second.

Greene started at second again on Wednesday, marking his ninth start there since March 16. During that same span, Descalso has made just one start at second, mostly bouncing around to play short and third. Schumaker is out of the mix for now after injuring his right oblique.

Still, the Cardinals have refrained from officially naming Greene their starter.

"[We're] not necessarily [going] to put a title or label on [a particular] guy," Matheny said. "I think we have the confidence in both guys that are going to be put out there. That's a good spot to be in. That's what we were hoping to get to -- get Tyler the exposure and then hope that Danny would be right where [he] is. We've seen both."

Greene's performance, both on the offensive and defensive ends, has been a mixed bag. He has flashed impressive defensive range and showed improvement on his double-play turns, but he has also committed a team-high four errors.

Offensively, he has watched the hits fall with more regularity after a tough first two weeks at the plate. He had another two hits, including a home run, on Wednesday to bump his spring average to .275. He has 11 hits in his last 25 at-bats.

"The player that believes it even when things aren't going exactly how you want it to, those are the ones that separate themselves," Matheny said. "He needs to get some more of that in him. I think success at this level breeds that, and until you have a little bit of success at the big league level, you're always going to be doubting yourself. That's something we'd like to see him get past."