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06/14/09 9:10 PM ET

Greene making move to third base

When he returns from DL, shortstop won't have old job back

CLEVELAND -- A funny thing happened while Khalil Greene was away from the Cardinals: They got some outstanding play from two young shortstops. Partly as a result, Greene is moving a few feet over to his right. Starting immediately, Greene is working to find his footing at third base.

The Cardinals' starting shortstop at the beginning of the year, Greene slumped badly on offense and defense. He also found himself suffering from social anxiety disorder, a condition which sent him to the disabled list. Since Greene was sidelined, though, Brendan Ryan and Tyler Greene have excelled on offense and defense. That development, combined with a desire to maximize Greene's chances of success this season, led the club to approach Greene about a move.

"The organization's talked to him about third base, and he said he'd do it," manager Tony La Russa said on Sunday.

"We're getting excellent shortstop play, so this allows him to. ... He's got to have some timing issues playing short, and there's less that you have to be concerned about playing third base."

La Russa did not say whether the move would be considered permanent or temporary. It's also not entirely clear how soon the club intends to activate Greene from the disabled list. What is clear is that when he returns, he won't step right back into his old job.

"I think that when he's ready to get here as a player, he needs to be ready to play third base," La Russa said. "I think you just have to let the people who are watching him make an evaluation about how ready he is."

Greene played some third base as well as shortstop at Clemson University.

Matthew Leach is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.