Having been told by his manager that another start at second would be a possibility, Carpenter has been taking regular pregame work at the position throughout the second half. He was there again on Friday for extended defensive work with shortstop Pete Kozma, Carpenter's middle-infield partner for the game.
"I'm always on my toes when it comes to getting reps there," Carpenter said. "I like to consider myself a baseball player and that means that even with things like this, you go out there confident."
While Carpenter has shown a knack for assimilating to new positions without much trouble, second base can be tricky. The footwork differs from what is required at a corner infield spot, and there are double play turns to worry about. There are also the less-noticeable nuances of the position -- like being in the right position for a cutoff -- that aren't yet instinctual for Carpenter.
Matheny sees the potential sacrifice defensively outweighed by both what Carpenter can do at the plate and the need the team has for a spark. Matheny's club has averaged three runs a game over the past 16 games.
"I don't think you can deny where we are offensively trying to get everybody going," Matheny said. "We were looking for a spot to try and get him in there, a player who is playing well. We've talked about staying with the hot hand, and he's been swinging a good bat and has been putting together good at-bats all season.
"It's going to be a challenge for him out there, no question. I know he's up for the challenge."
Carpenter entered the game with a .303 average and a team-best 10 RBIs this month before homering in his first at-bat in the second inning on Friday.