Right shoulder tendinitis could limit Cardinals' Carpenter
By CHUCK KING
JUPITER, Fla. (AP) Right shoulder tendinitis could limit the versatility this year of the St. Louis Cardinals' Matt Carpenter.
He has not played in any exhibition games because of back tightness.
"The shoulder is always something we're concerned about," manager Mike Matheny said Thursday. "That probably hasn't been talked about much during all of this."
Carpenter mainly played first base last season but had started prior seasons as the primary third or second baseman. During the offseason the Cardinals discussed the possibility of moving Carpenter around the diamond defensively.
Carpenter's primary position in 2018 always figured to be first base, but he could also spell Jedd Gyorko at third base and Kolton Wong at second.
"Trying to get his back right, he's also been trying to get his shoulder into a really good place," Matheny said. "We'll see how that looks once he gets out here."
Carpenter began hitting off a tee Wednesday and fielded ground balls Thursday.
"We'll get a better read on his shoulder," Matheny said. "There might be something that would push him more toward first base than third."
A three-time All-Star, Carpenter has a .277 career average with 97 home runs. He hit a career-low .241 last season after a back injury caused him to skip the World Baseball Classic but had 23 homers and 96 RBIs. He played 120 games at first base, 16 at third and 13 at second.
Using Carpenter to spell Gyorko or Wong would afford St. Louis the opportunity to give r first baseman Jose Martinez extra at-bats. Martinez hit .309 with 14 homers and 46 RBI in 307 plate appearances last season.
A candidate to make the opening day roster should Carpenter's back issues force a DL stint, Luke Voit played first against Miami and was hitless in three at-bats.
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Updated March 8, 2018