By Mark Sheldon

Skip Schumaker once played regularly at second base for the Cardinals but has since made the transition into a veteran role player. It’s a gig that can be as equally thankless as it is valuable — especially if he happens to be the one summoned in the ninth inning to pinch-hit against a closer throwing 98 mph.

Being a do-it-all utility player for the Reds is something Schumaker isn’t taking lightly.

“There’s no tougher role for position players than a bench role,” Schumaker said. “When you play every day, you know you’re getting four at-bats tomorrow. If you had a bad day, you know you’re getting four at-bats the next day. If you’re a bench guy and get four at-bats and might not play for a while, those four at-bats are really meaningful. You have to be pretty strong-minded as a bench player.”

Schumaker can serve the Reds as a backup second baseman and play all three spots in the outfield.

Schumaker isn’t expecting to see much time at second base for the Reds, however.

“In my opinion, Brandon Phillips is the best second baseman in the big leagues,” Schumaker said. “This guy can really play. He’s a pain to play against. You never want to see him up. Every ball hit to the right side is going to be caught. You plan on him playing 150 games.”

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