ST. PETERSBURG -- Ben Zobrist proved his worth as a utility man through most of the season, but it wasn't until he settled in at shortstop that he found the right spot.
Since Aug. 9, the first time he started at short, he's done solid defensively but even better offensively. He hit .310 with eight homers in 50 games during that stretch, with an OPS of .927.
In the 106 games prior to that, he hit just .253, with 12 long balls and an .818 OPS.
But Zobrist feels that a strong start to June was the turning point of a season that only got better when he moved to short, and he hopes for more of the same in 2013.
"I couldn't have asked the last four months of the year to go any better, considering where I was at in the first two," Zobrist said. "I'm trying to rack my brain about how I can get it going earlier than that next year, to try and help our club earlier. You do the best you can, and I just feel very fortunate I've been able to hit 20 homers again and help the club as much as I could."
With great turnover possible in the offseason and the only probable lock being Evan Longoria at third base, Zobrist is willing to play anywhere, though he wouldn't mind returning as a shortstop.
"I've really enjoyed playing short," he said. "I think they know, from my perspective, I'm open for whatever works best for our team next year."