The St. Louis Cardinals want to get outfield prospect Oscar Taveras to start this season with and hope to be with organization for years down the line. However, even as the youngster arrived in camp from the Dominican Republic a full week earlier than required, the team was optimistic, but by no means certain, that he will be ready to play from the get-go.
Last season, Taveras was only able to play 46 games at Triple-A, as his season came to a premature end due to an ankle injury that ultimately required surgery. As Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports, Taveras has not yet been cleared to run at full speed.
“He’s here early to continue his recovery and ramp up toward full-speed running so that he’s on track for when full-squad workouts begin next week. The Cardinals said he may ease into the workouts because there’s no need to push him. They believe he’ll be ready for games,” Goold writes.
“The Cardinals are open to the possibility that he could hit this spring and hit his way into the majors, though (general manager) John Mozeliak has said recently that Taveras’ development and need for everyday playing time would be the tiebreaker if he was just going to be on the bench in the majors.”
Jim Bowden of ESPN.com lists Taveras among his rookies he can’t wait to scout this spring. “Taveras is the best left-handed hitting prospect in baseball,” Bowden writes. “The Cardinals’ plan is to start him in Triple-A with Allen Craig starting in right and Matt Adams starting at first base. But the fact is the Cardinals will have a better team when Taveras is the everyday right fielder.”