ST. LOUIS -- Matt Carpenter estimates that he was 13 years old the last time he played second base in an organized game. The Cardinals will see if he can shake off the cobwebs on Thursday night, as manager Mike Matheny penciled him in at the position for the club's series finale against Colorado.
"I'm excited. I'm just ready to play," Carpenter said. "Any time I come to the park and see my name in the lineup, it fires me up. I don't really care where it is. I just want to give it my best."
Matheny has been trying to find ways to get Carpenter into the lineup, but with both Matt Holliday and Carlos Beltran swinging hot bats at the corner outfield spots, and the same for Allen Craig at first base, second base seemed like the best spot for Carpenter.
"He's just doing a nice job," Matheny said. "I hate to let him sit in there and rot, because he brings some energy and some different dynamics to the lineup."
Carpenter took ground balls at second during the offseason and began to do so again recently in case a day like this came.
"Obviously, it's not first base, but it's the same side of the infield. For me, a ground ball's a ground ball," Carpenter said. "It's just one of those things where you're going to go out there and make the most of it, try to get it done when you get those opportunities."
Carpenter has appeared in 49 games, batting .289 with 10 doubles and 21 RBIs. He's started 23 games at first base and has also made appearances at third base and both corner outfield positions. The 26-year-old was used regularly in April and May while Lance Berkman and Craig were battling injuries.
"There's going to be some things that sneak up on him," Matheny said. "But he is a good enough athlete, and has as good a baseball IQ as anyone we have out here, really.
"We have to figure out if this is a viable option, and it is in our minds. We'll get him out there, see how it goes. Not making any long-term projections. I just think it gives us a really good chance tonight."
Triple-A first baseman Matt Adams, who has been dealing with soreness in his right elbow, received encouraging news from a doctor on Wednesday. Adams was told that he should be able to play through the discomfort without creating any additional risk. The Cardinals have already placed him on the seven-day disabled list and, for precautionary reasons, are expected to hold him out until about July 16.
That will allow him time to rest through the Triple-A All-Star break and be eased back by taking batting practice and infield work. Adams last played on June 30.
Though they have been carefully monitoring Lance Lynn's workload, the Cardinals will not keep the right-hander from being available to pitch in the All-Star Game. And with Lynn starting on Thursday, the game actually falls on what would be his next scheduled day to pitch.
The club can give Lynn rest by pushing back his first start after the All-Star break, too. Discussions have already been had about how the Cardinals will order their rotation to start the second half. Those plans have not yet been made public.
Manager Mike Matheny said that the Cardinals plan to send Lance Berkman on a Minor League rehab assignment before activating him off the disabled list. Berkman, recovering from surgery on his right knee, has said that he is hopeful of returning soon after the All-Star break. He continues to increase the intensity of his various baseball activities while working out in St. Louis.
Right-hander Brandon Dickson has been named to the Pacific Coast League All-Star team as a replacement for Barret Browning, who was called up to St. Louis on Saturday. Dickson will be Memphis' lone representative. In 15 starts for Memphis this season, he is 4-8 with a 3.58 ERA. He also had a short stint with the Cardinals.
Jenifer Langosch is a reporter for MLB.com. Read her blog, By Gosh, It's Langosch, and follow her on Twitter @LangoschMLB. Mike Still is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.