Gyorko's preparation, versatility no secret

May 22nd, 2016

ST. LOUIS -- Jedd Gyorko arrived in St. Louis not sure of where he would fit. The Cardinals had a shortstop and a second baseman already. After ending the 2015 season as the Padres' starting shortstop, Gyorko might have to come off the bench for the Cardinals. But following a series of injuries and lineup changes, he has created an identity for himself with the versatility he provides.

Gyorko showed how valuable he can be during Saturday's 6-2 win over the D-backs, turning in a 2-for-4 afternoon with a home run and three RBIs. He batted out of the eighth spot in the lineup.

"You've just got to make sure you're prepared for every opportunity," Gyorko said. "You can watch as the game goes on, but you're never really sure when that opportunity is going to come up. You just have to prepare yourself like you're going to play every single day, and when the situations come, make sure you're ready."

Gyorko was also prepared in the spring. When Jhonny Peralta got hurt, his name was among those mentioned to get the starting nod. Instead, the Cardinals signed Ruben Tejada for depth, and Gyorko eventually lost the starting shortstop job to rookie Aledmys Diaz.

As April went on, Gyorko realized that a bat like Diaz had to be in the lineup, and his answer to the situation was to make the most of it. Gyorko provides depth in the infield at second base. On a team that leads the Major Leagues with 37 errors, Gyorko is responsible for just one in 100 chances this season.

His secret?

"One day I'll work on one position, and the next day I'll work on the next," Gyorko said. "It's just trying to stay as sharp as I can at all of them. I'll do one per day. It just kind of depends on where I'm playing that day or if I'm not playing at all where my work is focused."

Gyorko might not even be done moving this season. Cardinals manager Mike Matheny has mentioned that Gyorko is the team's emergency catcher and can pitch. He has never played a single inning at either position in his career. Matheny even suggested that Gyorko could move to the outfield -- another spot where he has no experience -- to provide depth when Peralta returns.

"Jedd just realizes that he likes being a part of this team in whatever role it's going to be," Matheny said. "Whether it's going to be a weapon off the bench or if it's going to be come in and do something for us. He's so versatile."