JUPITER, Fla. -- For the Cardinals, the debate is no longer if Matt Carpenter can play second base, but rather, will he?
Carpenter has proven himself capable of handling the position, which he has played almost exclusively since Spring Training opened. He got a head start on the transition with the work he did over the winter, and he arrived at camp ahead of other position players to get one-on-one tutoring from coach Jose Oquendo.
With the foundation built through that work, Carpenter has not looked out of place at second base in Grapefruit League play.
"When I watched him early on, I was very confident that this was something he was going to be able to do," manager Mike Matheny said. "He looks good. He looks good on the turns. That was our main concern that making sure that he was comfortable enough around the bag to stay out of harm's way. He's making some tough plays and seems to be working well with the other middle infielders. That's all we could ask from him."
Though the Cardinals are pleased with Carpenter's progress, they are not crowning him the team's starting second baseman just yet. Daniel Descalso, an above-average defender, is still very much in the mix. Matheny indicated that the organization is open to various second-base scenarios, whether it be splitting playing time between the two or giving one the majority of the starts.
"It's too early to tell that," Matheny said. "We still have a lot of time to see how that plays out."
Jenifer Langosch is a reporter for MLB.com. Read her blog, By Gosh, It's Langosch, and follow her on Twitter @LangoschMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.