Cardinals Prospect Interview: Daniel Descalso

The Memphis Redbirds second baseman recaps his past 12 months and looks ahead to 2011.

For a high-energy guy who's been around the globe playing baseball over the past year, just the thought of sitting out a month was enough to drive Memphis second baseman Daniel Descalso crazy.

 

But that became reality after a nasty collision with shortstop Tyler Greene landed him on the disabled list with a broken collarbone in early-July.

 

"There was a little flare over the second base bag, and me and Tyler were both trying to make a play on it," said Descalso, St. Louis' third-round selection in 2007. "I dove and he slid, we collided, and his knee hit my shoulder. I didn't know I broke it at first. I stayed in the game and it was kind of sore. I got it checked out afterwards, got some X-Rays and they found a little fracture in there.

 

"It was kind of a freak injury. There wasn't much they could really do for it. I had to rest and let it heal. I gave it the proper rest, kept in shape and keep my timing. Luckily I was able to come back and hit the ground running and have a good finish to the year."

 

Upon his return, Descalso moved from second to third in the batting order. The change sparked him to an impressive August, as he returned from the DL to hit .311/.350/.462.

 

"I try to take the same approach, no matter where I'm hitting in the order," Descalso said. "I try to get a good pitch to hit, put a good swing on it and have a quality at-bat.

 

"I always like to come up with guys in scoring position. I feel like I have pretty good at-bats with guys on base. I give us a pretty good chance to score some runs. But I also feel that I get on base a lot and score some runs. I consider myself an all-around run producer."

 

The 5-foot-10, 190-pounder did both well by scoring 29 runs and driving in 16 over 30 games last month. His return to the lineup has come at a great time for the Redbirds, who are squarely in the chase a second consecutive Pacific Coast League championship.

 

Descalso is no stranger to playing on a title team, as he played 46 games for the Redbirds in 2009 after being called up from Double-A Springfield. Only thing is, he didn't get to experience all of the glory as Team USA came calling shortly before Memphis entered the postseason.

 

"I missed out on the playoff run when I was overseas, so it would be great to be a part of it this year and experience what all the other guys got to last year," Descalso said.

 

On the other hand, his experience helping lead his country to a gold medal at the Baseball World Cup is something he will cherish well beyond his playing days.

 

"Getting to put on that USA jersey for the Baseball World Cup last year and winning a gold medal was quite an honor," Descalso said. "It's something I'll remember for the rest of my life. It was a once in a lifetime opportunity. That has to be the highlight of my baseball career so far."

 

The next step for the 23-year old infielder is the big leagues, where he is in a great situation with a St. Louis organization devoid of a long-term answer at second base. His big shot figures to come next year at the Cardinals' major league camp.

 

"I was lucky enough to get an invite to big-league spring training this year," he said. "I showed up and wanted to soak in as much as possible and learn from the guys that have been around before. I had a pretty good showing and made a good impression.

 

"I'm not sure what the big league club has on their agenda. All I can ask for is a chance to be considered for that spot. Hopefully I get a chance."

 

 

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