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Descalso offers Carpenter tutorial on playing second

JUPITER, Fla. -- The Cardinals had just wrapped up an exercise in bunt defenses on Tuesday morning when Daniel Descalso summoned Matt Carpenter his way. While other players scattered to other fields for other work, Descalso began his tutorial.

Offering instruction, Descalso said later, is something he perceives to be an obligation, even if Carpenter is the one eyeing Descalso's second-base job. Perhaps surprisingly to some, Descalso doesn't see the two circumstances as mutually exclusive.

"I don't know if they're going to name him the second baseman or if I'm going to win it, but at some point this year, I'm sure he will be out there at second base," Descalso said. "And if he's out there, he needs to know what to do. He needs to help us at second base. I feel like it's part of my responsibility to get him prepared. If he doesn't know something, I feel like that's on me."

Descalso went on to describe how the same courtesy was shown him when he was jockeying for playing time with Skip Schumaker, most recently as last Spring Training.

"He helped me from day one," Descalso said of Schumaker, who is with the Dodgers. "He didn't have to do that. We played the same spot and were always competing. But he did that for me. So why shouldn't I do that for Matt?"

Most of Carpenter's tutorial at second has come with third-base/infield coach Jose Oquendo, who has been focused on the technical parts of playing the position. Meanwhile, Descalso has chimed in with advice that hits on the mental preparation and awareness of the position.

"Stuff as simple as getting with the shortstop and figuring out who has the bag on the steal, that's something you have to do each pitch, not just once an at-bat," Descalso explained. "It's stuff that I take for granted, but that he just doesn't know from not being over there. A question comes up and he might think it's a stupid question, but we talk about it and hopefully he learns from it."