Cards promote Taveras from Memphis

Scratched from lineup, top prospect to join St. Louis on Saturday

Oscar Taveras leads Memphis in batting, RBIs, hits, total bases and doubles. (Allison Rhoades/Memphis Redbirds)

By Tyler Maun / MiLB.com | May 31, 2014 1:08 AM

Top Cardinals prospect Oscar Taveras is being promoted to the big leagues.

According to Cardinals manager Mike Matheny, the 21-year-old outfielder -- who's batting .325 with seven homers and 40 RBIs in 49 games for Triple-A Memphis -- will join St. Louis ahead of Saturday's game against the Giants.

Taveras was in Friday night's starting lineup for the Redbirds but was scratched during a lengthy rain delay amid reports of a callup.

"I think everybody should be excited; I know he is," Mike Matheny told MLB.com. "We've been waiting for a while. There've been a lot of people anticipating him getting here and hopefully, we can limit the distractions for him for where he just goes and plays the game."

Taveras was in the midst of his most impressive stretch of an impressive campaign. Over his last 10 games, the native of the Dominican Republic native is batting .462 (18-for-39) with a homer, four doubles, nine RBIs and a 1.129 OPS. Overall, he's reached base at a .373 clip and slugged .524, good for an .897 OPS that places him 18th in all of Triple-A.

The promotion signaled a trip to the disabled list for St. Louis baseman Matt Adams who has missed three days with a calf injury. Taveras' callup would be the second for a top Cardinals prospect in less than 24 hours, following No. 11 prospect Randal Grichuk, who was brought back Memphis earlier Friday.

"I would expect him to come up here and hit," Grichuk said. "I saw him down there for a couple months and his ability to barrel up balls is through the roof. I expect him to come up and do very well."

Taveras, a non-drafted free agent who signed with the Cardinals on Nov. 15, 2008, could see time as an outfielder or at designated hitter beginning Monday when St. Louis begins a stretch of four straight interleague series.

"Oscar's going to get an opportunity," Matheny said. "We're going to see what he can do. You're going to see Oscar in the lineup."

Taveras' development was hampered by an ankle injury that eventually required surgery and limited him to 46 games last season. Any chance he had of earning a roster spot during Spring Training evaporated when he missed a week while rehabbing the ankle, then strained his right hamstring in his second Grapefruit League appearance.

Prior to Friday's game with the Giants, Matheny said he hadn't had any conversations with general manager John Mozeliak concerning a promotion for the organization's top prospect. After the game, Mozeliak said, "There's definitely a high level of anticipation and excitement. When you take the time and you invest heavily in the international market, you're looking to someday maybe get a return like this. I think everybody involved in that is A, proud, and B, excited, to see what he can do at the Major League level."

Tyler Maun is a contributor to MiLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @TylerMaun. This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.

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