Greg Garcia builds his versatility portfolio

Based on news from Jupiter, Florida, Greg Garcia will soon be able to claim experience at all four infield positions.

Greg Garcia has logged more than 400 games in four seasons as a St. Louis Cardinals minor leaguer since being selected in the seventh round of the 2010 draft from the University of Hawaii. While the 24 year-old has appeared in the vast majority of his career games at second base and shortstop, he also added third base to his kit bag of experiences while at Triple-A Memphis in 2013.

This spring, with the Cardinals having in major league camp just two first baseman by title in Matt Adams and Xavier Scruggs, the club has asked Garcia to also take some reps at first base, reports Derrick Goold of the Post-Dispatch. While this could be no more than a move of short-term convenience for the major league club, it could also signal more - an expansion of Garcia's role in preparation for his eventual big league debut.

In my current estimation - albeit before minor league camp has even opened - Scruggs is the only first baseman penciled onto Memphis' tentative roster to open the season. If Garcia takes to the position this spring, he might become the primary reserve at the position for the 2014 Redbirds, in addition to his regular duties elsewhere on the infield.

Garcia's ultimate destination may be the infield reserve spot in St. Louis currently held by Daniel Descalso. If so, having the additional experience at first base could only help. However, with both Descalso and Pete Kozma potentially ahead of him, Garcia's time may not come until later in 2014.

Garcia can help his case by a strong big league camp. In the 2013 Grapefruit League, the left-handed hitter was one of the Cardinals' final cuts with strong defensive play despite a Florida line of .214/.313/.250 in 19 games with St. Louis.

With Memphis last season, Garcia shook off some nagging early injuries to finish strongly. His August line was .368/.471/.529 and earned him TCN's nod as August Player of the Month for the system. It capped off a .271/.377/.384 campaign overall. He was added to the 40-man roster in November to protect him from the Rule 5 Draft. Coming into 2014, the California native is The Cardinal Nation's 20th-ranked prospect in St. Louis' system.

Brian Walton can be reached via email at Also catch his Cardinals commentary daily at The Cardinal Nation blog. Follow Brian on Twitter.

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