Cardinals call up top prospect Oscar Taveras
ST. LOUIS (AP) — The St. Louis Cardinals recalled prize prospect Oscar Taveras from Triple-A Memphis and plugged him right into the lineup to make his major league debut against the Giants.
“You know what I’m supposed to do is downplay it, right?” manager Mike Matheny said before Saturday’s game. “I’d be lying to you to say I wasn’t excited for him.”
The 21-year-old Taveras didn’t downplay it, either. This is his first look at Busch Stadium.
“Oh, man,” he said before the game, “I’m so happy. I know when I hit for the first time, with the fans, it’ll be awesome for me.”
Taveras batted sixth and played right field. He got a standing ovation before flying out to left to end the second.
“We’ve got enough very, very good players that we’re not going to rely on him to shoulder this,” Matheny said. “I do believe he can be an addition to something good.
“We’ve got an opportunity for a couple weeks to see what this kid can do.”
Matheny said Taveras was welcomed just like any other rookie, joking that balloons were not involved.
“This is a big day, regardless of all the hype, for any of our guys. It’s a huge accomplishment,” Matheny said. “To be on this roster for one day, whether player or not is a big, big deal.”
First baseman Matt Adams was placed on the 15-day disabled list Saturday with a left calf strain that’s dogged him for several days. The move is retroactive to Friday.
Cardinals trainers don’t believe Adams will be available until early next week. He’s among the league leaders with a .325 average with three homers and 17 RBIs.
“The tightness is just not coming along as fast as we wanted,” Adams said. “I want be out there doing everything I can to help the team compete. It’s very disappointing.”
Taveras was batting a team-leading .325 at Memphis with seven home runs and 40 RBIs in 49 games. The 21-year-old, left-handed hitter was starting in right field and batting sixth. Taveras had been on track to make his debut last year before season-ending ankle surgery.
The Cardinals signed Taveras as an international free agent in 2008. He has a .321 average with 52 homers and 315 RBIs in 423 career minor league games. He won batting titles in 2011 and 2012.