It took him a few games, but if Oscar Taveras' recent performance is any indicator, the Cardinals' top prospect has found a groove.
Taveras went 3-for-4 with a pair of RBIs and a run scored for his second straight three-hit game Friday night, helping Triple-A Memphis defeat Iowa, 8-5, at AutoZone Park.
The 21-year-old outfielder required surgery to repair ligament and cartilage damage in his right ankle and played only 47 games last season. Just as the ankle was reaching 100 percent during Spring Training, he was sidelined by a minor hamstring strain, leaving the Cardinals with little choice but to send him back to the Pacific Coast League.
Taveras was 3-for-22 through his first six games, although he had a homer and a double. He went yard again on Wednesday and appears to have found a consistent stroke over his last two contests.
MLB.com's No. 3 overall prospect took a called third strike in his first at-bat Friday night, then delivered in each of his next three at-bats.
Taveras plated Cardinals' No. 12 prospect Randal Grichuk with a two-out single in the third and singled home Greg Garcia in the fifth. In the seventh, he led off by poking a grounder through the right side, came in to score on a base hit by Ed Easley and ended the night with a .314 average.
Easley also homered, while Grichuk delivered a two-run double as the Redbirds improved to 6-3. They've outscored their opponents, 65-20.