Tyler Greene Tries To Get Comfortable At Second





ST. LOUIS—For the past several years, as he tried to fit his game to a utility role, lifelong shortstop Tyler Greene has described how he felt more comfortable on the left side of diamond playing third base as opposed to second.

That has to change this spring, as comfort will have to catch up with opportunity.

"I have a little more experience on the left side," Greene said this winter. "That's all it is. I've spent a lot of time at second (base) this offseason, getting reps. I'm getting ready."

Greene, 28, was the 30th overall pick in the 2005 draft, coming two spots behind Colby Rasmus and yet receiving a larger signing bonus as an All-American shortstop from Georgia Tech. Rasmus, a prep outfielder, had the quicker ascent to the majors, leaving Greene and the Cardinals frustrated because his tools are obvious, but he has struggled to gain traction in the majors. In 150 games over the previous three seasons, Greene has hit .218/.307/.313 in the majors, and he has nearly as many strikeouts (87) as total bases (99). That is a stark contrast to his play in the minors, where he was a 20-20 threat early in his career.

Cardinals officials say privately that Greene appears apprehensive and uneasy in the majors, and some connect his tentativeness to manager Tony La Russa. This winter, after La Russa's retirement, manager Mike Matheny has spoke glowingly about Greene, suggesting that it falls to both manager and player to find a way to make him comfortable enough to bring his Memphis game to the majors.

During a phone call this winter, Matheny said he presented a way for that to happen: second base. Greene is out of options and entering the most important spring of his pro career. He'll either end it on the major league roster in St. Louis, or likely elsewhere. .

REDBIRD CHIRPS

• To replace Jeff Luhnow after he left to become Astros general manager, the Cardinals found a familiar face and hired Dan Kantrovitz as the new scouting director. Kantrovitz, a St. Louis native, got his start with the Cardinals before leaving to pursue a graduate degree and then working with the Athletics in baseball operations.

• After leading the Cardinals' Rookie-level Johnson City club to back-to-back Appy League titles, manager Mike Shildt, 43, will take over the same role at Double-A Springfield. Ron Warner moved up from Springfield to Memphis as part the changes that started with La Russa's departure.