02/18/2013 6:11 PM ET
Cards courted second-base options over winter
By Jenifer Langosch / MLB.com
JUPITER, Fla. -- As the Cardinals continue evaluating their in-house second-base options during the early days of Spring Training, it's become evident that the organization looked aggressively all offseason to supplement those candidates with another.
On Saturday, Marco Scutaro told CSNbayarea.com that he turned down a two-year, $18 million offer from the Cardinals to return to the Giants, who will pay him $20 million over the next three seasons. The Cardinals had eyed Scutaro not so much as a backup option at shortstop but rather as a potential starting second baseman.
On Monday, Alex Gonzalez confirmed to MLB.com that the Cardinals had made a hard recruiting pitch to him. Gonzalez, who re-signed with the Brewers on Feb. 6, said the Cardinals scouted him during a December workout Gonzalez had to show clubs that his knee was healthy. Gonzalez tore the anterior cruciate ligament in his right knee on May 5 and missed the rest of the season.
Gonzalez said that he then heard from manager Mike Matheny, who talked to him about getting extensive playing time at second base. According to Gonzalez, talks about a potential one-year deal never materialized into a firm offer.
Gonzalez's contract with the Brewers includes a base salary of $1.45 million with incentives worth up to $1 million more. In 14 Major League seasons, Gonzalez has never played anywhere but short.
Chambers working to hone bunting, baserunning
JUPITER, Fla. -- Aware that he is in the mix for an Opening Day bench spot, Adron Chambers is hopeful that two improving facets of his game make a particular impression this spring: bunting and baserunning.
Chambers' rationale certainly seems sound. He knows he can bring an element of speed to a club lacking much of it, but he also realizes that he has to reach base to make his speed an asset. As a result, Chambers intends to spend much of the spring forcing himself to get more comfortable with the bunt.
"I might bunt more than I hit," Chambers said. "I'm working on ways to get on base, so I'll have more chances to steal. That is my way. I'm not going to be a Matt Holliday hitting 30 home runs. I understand that. I'm just trying to put an emphasis on what I can improve in my game so I can bring more to the table."
Chambers said that in the past he'd often shy away from the bunt if he was unsuccessful after a few attempts. Before he gets a chance to showcase his extra work in the area during Grapefruit League games, Chambers hopes to turn heads in the Cardinals' upcoming position player bunting competition.
"I told myself," he said, "that I'm going to win it."
Refining his baserunning technique is something that Chambers has been working on for several years now. He was among those who gathered with guest instructor Willie McGee on Monday afternoon for a tutorial in stealing and the confidence needed to be successful in it.
• Former shortstop Ozzie Smith arrived at camp on Monday and will serve as a guest instructor for the second straight Spring Training. During his first day in uniform, Smith assisted with infield drills and baserunning instruction.
• Matheny and second baseman-in-training Matt Carpenter talked on Sunday about how to make sure Carpenter doesn't entirely abandon his other defensive positions. If Carpenter doesn't play second for the Cardinals this year, he will be used as a utility player in the same way he was last year.
"We're going to put a plan together [to determine] how much work he needs to feel comfortable at third base," Matheny said. "But right now, I want his best attention and his best work ethic going to second base."
• Before taking the fields for workouts on Tuesday, the Cardinals will participate in the organization's annual photo day responsibilities. Players will circle through various stations where media outlets and baseball card companies will be among those snapping shots to use throughout the year.
Jenifer Langosch is a reporter for MLB.com. Read her blog, By Gosh, It's Langosch, and follow her on Twitter @LangoschMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.