Top Prospect Taveras on Way to St. Louis

The St. Louis Cardinals are promoting their top position player prospect to the majors, outfielder Oscar Taveras.

Perhaps there has been no more anticipated debut in St. Louis in recent years than that of outfielder Oscar Taveras. Some of that is because the 21-year-old has been one of the game's top prospects for several seasons. Also, there has been a major delay as the Dominican Republic native essentially lost the last year due to an ankle injury that required surgery last fall.

On Friday night, Taveras' major league dreams apparently became a reality. Rob Rains of STLSportsPage.com first reported that Taveras was seen packing his bags in the Memphis Redbirds clubhouse and is on his way to join St. Louis.

Following a four-plus hour rain delay Friday night, Taveras was scratched from Memphis' lineup. Other media sources confirmed Rains' report, though the Cardinals have yet to make an official announcement.

The left-handed hitter has been red-hot in recent days, batting .462 (18-for-39) with a home run and nine RBI over his last 10 games. On the season, Taveras has a line of .325/.373/.524 to go with seven long balls and 40 runs driven in.

The Cardinals' corresponding roster move has not been disclosed, but Matt Adams' calf injury could be sufficient to warrant placing the first baseman on the 15-day disabled list. Allen Craig moving to first could create an every-day opportunity in right field.

Like Randal Grichuk, called up from Memphis on Friday, Taveras can play all three outfield positions. Long-term, he is not expected to be a centerfielder, but in the short-term could figure in the mix there, as well.

Starting next week, the Cardinals will play seven games in Kansas City, Toronto and Tampa Bay, interleague contests in which a designated hitter will be used. That creates the opportunity for an additional hitter in St. Louis' lineup.

Updates

Following Friday's game, manager Mike Matheny confirmed that Adams will be placed on the 15-day disabled list with Taveras promoted to replace him.

Editorial at The Cardinal Nation blog: "Will Taveras Overcome the Weight of Unrealistic Expectations?"

To see the Cardinals' entire system by level and position, check out the Roster Matrix at The Cardinal Nation blog.

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Brian Walton can be reached via email at brian@thecardinalnationblog.com. Also catch his Cardinals commentary daily at The Cardinal Nation blog. Follow Brian on Twitter.

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