Chambers offers Cards speed off the bench

Chambers offers Cards speed off the bench

Chambers offers Cards speed off the bench
HOUSTON -- Adron Chambers talks openly about trying to make a long-term fit for himself in St. Louis. And he has a clear idea of what niche is his to latch onto.

A Cardinals team not built with basestealers could have one in Chambers, who made the craft a focal point of his work this season. Chambers swiped his first career base on Saturday as a pinch-runner in the ninth inning. He has been manager Mike Matheny's top pinch-running option, and, as was the case on Saturday, Chambers usually enters with a green light to steal if he sees an opening.

Chambers' education in basestealing has been aided by past and current players. He has talked extensively with former Cardinals Lou Brock and Willie McGee about the craft. He's listened to Juan Pierre and Dee Gordon share lessons learned through their experience. He's even picked the brain of infield coach Jose Oquendo, who has given Chambers insight into what middle infielders anticipate during a steal situation.

All that advice has ranged from learning when to stretch a lead to zeroing in on the crease of a pitcher's pants, as that gives away when he's in motion to the plate.

"There were so many things that I was able to grasp," Chambers said. "Now, for me, it's just doing it on the field. When I started seeing guys like Yadier Molina throwing it to second base with ease I knew I couldn't rely only on speed.

"I am finding my ability, what I bring to the team. Basestealing is one thing. When they say my name, I want them to think about stolen bases."

Chambers has started only six games for the Cardinals in 2012, but he has appeared in 37 of the team's 47 games played while he was on the roster. Chambers has a legitimate chance at being included on a postseason roster because of the speed he would offer off the bench.

"He's really improved in almost every facet. He really has," Matheny said. "Even his arm, you don't usually see improvement when you get to this level. But his arm, his jumps, he had a strong season in Triple-A, showed some power. He's really impressed us."