JUPITER, Fla. -- Time is running out before the Cardinals and all of their full season minor league affiliates kick off the 2014 regular season. So there's not a lot of time left for Mike Matheny and his staff to evaluate young prospects like Cuban SS Aledmys Diaz.
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The young infielder plays in his first game today in roughly 18 months. That's because Diaz was forced to sit out a full season for lying about his age to Major League baseball. Combine that with the fact he took a few weeks to work out for teams, eventually sign a contract and then obtain a work visa and it's been a while since he's played competitively.
"[Diaz] is in plenty good condition," Matheny said. "He hasn't had a whole lot of game experience. I doubt he'll play the whole thing [today] but we'll use this as an opportunity to watch him do a little bit and take him out as we need to."
How long he remains in camp before heading over to the minor league side is unknown. But there is a lot of value in getting exposed to the big league staff for just a couple days.
"He needs to get work more so than anything else and I think days here will be good," Matheny said. "It's good for him to be around most of the [Major League] guys. For the most part we need to get him to the point of seeing him a little bit and making sure he's getting his work in."
Check back to KMOV.com and Baseball STL for updates on how Diaz's first Grapefruit League game went. Also tune into News 4 at 6 o'clock tonight for reaction.