St. Louis Cardinals

Carpenter back at second base as Cardinals make room for Voit at first

Matt Carpenter

Matt Carpenter on getting first start of season at second base
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Matt Carpenter on getting first start of season at second base

Matt Carpenter is moving from first to second.

Not in the St. Louis Cardinals’ batting order. Rather, it was a position switch for Carpenter on Monday as the Cardinals opened a four-game series against Miami.

“It’s certainly not permanent,” Cardinals General Manager Mike Girsch said. “We’ll see how it plays out, see how it goes. It’s something Mike (Matheny) has been talking about for a while to get Luke (Voit’s) bat in the lineup. This is one opportunity.”

Carpenter was the Cardinals’ everyday second baseman in 2013, so it’s a position with which he’s familiar. The chances will come against left-handed pitchers. Voit, a rookie, is a right-handed power hitter who has intrigued the Cardinals in the last 10 days.

Carpenter said he’s equally comfortable at first and second.

“It’s the same side of the infield. It’s similar,” Carpenter said. “But second, to me, from a position standpoint nowadays, is a little easier than it used to be because of the shifts and all the stuff you do. The position is played a little different than in the past with the slide rule. ... That certainly helps when you’re turning a double play.

“In 2013 when I played, you had to avoid runners and all that kind of stuff.”

Matheny commended Carpenter for creating the possibility of an occasional shift to second.

“It’s rare to have an All-Star-caliber guy who’s been in the MVP conversation so willing to do whatever it is the club needs,” Matheny said. “He’s been very vocal about that since day one, all spring, even through the offseason. (He said), ‘Hey, listen, I’m ready for first base. I’ll be there. But if you guys ever need me to do anything else, I’m in.’

“That speaks volumes. Guys can say, ‘I’m a team player. I’m here for the club.’ But when a guy comes through and actually not just says that, but then does the work to prepare to do that, which he has been ... Now he’s ready to step in there.”

Voit, who hammered 23 doubles and 12 home runs while batting .322 at Class AAA Memphis, had two doubles among his four hits in his first 10 at-bats in St. Louis.

“We’ll see how it all comes together,” Matheny said. “It gives us an opportunity to put a bat like Luke’s in there, or Jose (Martinez’s) from time to time as well. It’s a very team-centered approach and it’s very nice to see.”

David Wilhelm: @DavidMWilhelm