JUPITER, Fla. -- A Cardinals player trying to prove his worth is back in action after missing the past three days with an illness.

Dealing with flu-like symptoms since Monday, Tyler Greene was in the starting lineup against Josh Johnson and the Marlins on Thursday, going hitless in three at-bats in the Cardinals' 5-2 loss.

"I'm feeling good," Greene said. "I'm glad to get back to even-keel from the illness. I'm happy to be back out there and getting work in."

Greene played shortstop against the Marlins, but he has seen time throughout the infield and outfield this season. His versatility is one of the main reasons why Greene feels he is an asset to the Cardinals.

"I think it's an advantage to be able to play both the infield and the outfield and to have some speed to offer for this team," Greene said. "I think that would be a big advantage for me in the end."

A natural shortstop, Greene feels most comfortable in the infield -- but the athletic 27-year-old feels better with every inning he plays in the outfield.

"I've felt a lot more comfortable the last few times I've been out there," Greene said. "I think the comfort level settles in the longer I play that position."

Schumaker building off second half of 2010

JUPITER, Fla. -- Skip Schumaker did not have his best offensive season in 2010.

But after making some adjustments and working hard in the offseason, he is leading the Cardinals with a .419 average this spring.

"It is Spring Training, so I don't want to get ahead of myself, but I feel like I found something in the middle of last year," Schumaker said. "I had a rough first month, and if you dig yourself that big of a hole, sometimes it's tough to get out of it. I felt pretty good about my second half and I carried that into my offseason work with [batting coach Mark] McGwire, and so far it's been good."

Cardinals manager Tony La Russa is confident that Schumaker will be more like the .300-plus hitter he was in 2008 and '09 than the .265 player he was last year.

"He's a .300 hitter that last year got off to a slow start," La Russa said. "You take away those first couple of months and he's a .300 hitter. He's a good hitter and a tough out."

For Schumaker, the most important thing is the increased confidence his strong spring has given him.

"You never see your Spring Training stats on the back of your baseball card, so it doesn't mean too much," Schumaker said. "But you do want that confidence going into the season where you feel good about where you're at, where you're stance is and your swing. You want to have that confidence going into the season.

"You don't want to go into a funk right before the season starts, so hopefully I can keep it up going into the season."

La Russa taking hard look at young trio

JUPITER, Fla. -- Matt Carpenter was not regarded as a legitimate contender to break camp with the Cardinals this spring, but the 25-year-old has opened eyes with his hot bat.

After a two-hit performance in Thursday's 5-2 loss to the Cardinals, Carpenter has his spring average up to .385. The Cardinals' 2010 Minor League Player of the Year was in the leadoff spot for the first time this spring, but that wasn't the biggest test he faced. Manager Tony La Russa wanted to see how Carpenter handled himself against ace Josh Johnson.

"First things first, his big assignment today is to see how he competes against Johnson," La Russa said before the game. "That's a pretty good test. This part of the spring is a different kind of test."

Another young hitter in St. Louis' lineup was infielder Daniel Descalso, who finished 1-for-3. After getting a taste of the big leagues as a September callup last season, La Russa believes Descalso is a player that could fill a bench role for the Cardinals this season.

"He's one of those guys in competition," La Russa said. "He's got a chance to make our club. He did a really good job last year. He's very competitive, which we like a lot."

Reliever Fernando Salas could factor into the Cardinals' bullpen plans, especially if Kyle McClellan is named the team's fifth starter.

"Experience is a great equalizer, and I think he's definitely feeling more like he's a big leaguer," La Russa said. "He's pitched very well this spring. Last year, we put him in some very critical situations. He was up and down a lot, but he was a guy that we kept calling on -- and we were in a pennant race, so he knows that he is highly regarded."

Worth noting

Following Thursday's 5-2 loss to the Marlins, the Cardinals cut their Spring Training roster to 40 players. Catcher Bryan Anderson and outfielder Adron Chambers were optioned to Triple-A Memphis, while infielder Ramon Vazquez and outfielder Amaury Cazana were reassigned to the Memphis roster.