MLB

Ellis ready to compete at 2nd base with Cardinals

Share This Story

   
 

JUPITER, Fla. (AP)

Free agent second baseman Mark Ellis signed with St. Louis during the offseason reasoning that the Cardinals offered the best shot at a World Series title.

Now he's prepared to show what kind of a contribution he can make toward achieving that goal.

The 11-year veteran arrived at Roger Dean Stadium on Monday - the date for Cardinals position players to report. On Tuesday, he'll jump into what manager Mike Matheny emphatically declared to be an open competition at second base with rookie Kolten Wong.

''I've tried to be real careful about how we've explained that to anybody,'' Matheny said. ''Once again with everybody we have - it sounds like I'm just giving you a line - but I want them going out there like they are competing for a job regardless of how solid their spot is.''

An offseason trade that sent David Freese to the Angels allowed the Cardinals to move natural corner infielder Matt Carpenter from second to third. That created an opening for prospect Kolten Wong to take over at second.

When Ellis signed his one year, $5.25 million deal with the Cardinals, popular wisdom held that Ellis, whose .270 average with the Dodgers last season is five points better than his career mark, would provide an insurance policy should Wong struggle.

Matheny insists he views Ellis as potentially more than just a reserve.

''I've talked relentlessly with this staff about, let's not commit to what we think this has to look like,'' Matheny said. ''Let's let these guys go play the game and that will make it obvious for itself. But there are going to be opportunities for Kolten and there going to be opportunities for Mark as well.''

Wong's potent bat makes his inclusion in the everyday lineup attractive. The Cardinals first round selection in the 2011 amateur draft, Wong hit .301 and stole 50 bases over the course of three minor league seasons. That success didn't translate to last year's major league call-up, when he hit .153 in 59 at-bats.

''Everything is quicker, everything is faster,'' Wong said of the experience. ''Even though I succeeded at the minor league level, that's the minor leagues. This is the big leagues. I have to make sure that everything is short, quicker and that I put good wood on the ball.''

Should Wong win the everyday second base job, the Cardinals could ask Ellis to take on a utility role, potentially backing up Matt Carpenter at third or playing some outfield.

Ellis hasn't played more than two games in a season at a position other than second base since playing seven at shortstop in 2005 with Oakland. He brought only one glove to Jupiter, but is willing to adjust if the Cardinals want him to try something new.

''They didn't promise anything,'' Ellis said. ''They didn't tell me anything except that they wanted me on the team. That's kind of my expectations - just go out there and play. Where ever they put my name in the lineup, that's where I'll be.''

Tagged: Cardinals, Mark Ellis

Related Stories

Member Comments

Please note by clicking on "Post comment" you acknowledge that you have read the Terms of Use and the comment you are posting is in compliance with such terms. Be Polite. Inappropriate posts may be removed by the moderator.

powered by



MLB Videos

Padres hold off the Dodgers Posted: Jul 12, 2014
Seth Smith talks about the San Diego Padres win over the Los Angeles Dodgers.

Cardinals rally to overcome 6-run deficit Posted: Jul 12, 2014
Matt Holliday talks about the Cardinals' amazing comeback against the Brewers.

Royals fade to Tigers Posted: Jul 12, 2014
Danny Duffy comments on his pitching performance and the Royals' 2-1 loss.

SimLeague Baseball - Simulation Baseball Game

Fox Sports Store

    itemName itemURL imageSrc price itemDescription
    Nike New York Yankees Practice T-Shirt - Ash http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_New_York_Yankees/browse/featuredproduct/606363/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_606000/ff_606363_xl.jpg&w=100 27.95 Nike New York Yankees Practice T-Shirt - Ash
    Majestic Detroit Tigers 2012 MLB American League Champions Clubhouse Locker Room T-Shirt - Navy Blue http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_Detroit_Tigers/browse/featuredproduct/1064043/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_1064000/ff_1064043_xl.jpg&w=100 24.95 Majestic Detroit Tigers 2012 MLB American League Champions Clubhouse Locker Room..
    Majestic San Francisco Giants 2012 MLB World Series Champions Clubhouse Locker Room T-Shirt - Gray http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_San_Francisco_Giants/browse/featuredproduct/1067359/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_1067000/ff_1067359_xl.jpg&w=100 24.95 Majestic San Francisco Giants 2012 MLB World Series Champions Clubhouse Locker R..
    Majestic San Francisco Giants 2012 MLB World Series Champions Clubhouse Locker Room Pullover Hoodie - Steel http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_San_Francisco_Giants/browse/featuredproduct/1067382/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_1067000/ff_1067382_xl.jpg&w=100 54.95 Majestic San Francisco Giants 2012 MLB World Series Champions Clubhouse Locker R..
    New Era San Francisco Giants 2012 MLB World Series Champions Clubhouse Locker Room 39THIRTY Flex Hat - Charcoal/Black http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_San_Francisco_Giants/browse/featuredproduct/1067785/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_1067000/ff_1067785_xl.jpg&w=100 31.95 New Era San Francisco Giants 2012 MLB World Series Champions Clubhouse Locker Ro..
    Majestic San Francisco Giants 2012 MLB World Series Champions Glory T-Shirt - Black http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_San_Francisco_Giants/browse/featuredproduct/1068294/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_1068000/ff_1068294_xl.jpg&w=100 21.95 Majestic San Francisco Giants 2012 MLB World Series Champions Glory T-Shirt - Bl..
    Majestic San Francisco Giants 2012 MLB World Series Champions Batting Practice Performance Jersey - Black/Orange http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_San_Francisco_Giants/browse/featuredproduct/1068787/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_1068000/ff_1068787_xl.jpg&w=100 94.95 Majestic San Francisco Giants 2012 MLB World Series Champions Batting Practice P..