JUPITER, Fla. – Cardinals manager Mike Matheny realizes the hype that surrounds 20-year-old outfield prospect Oscar Taveras. And he’s been mighty impressed himself.
Matheny spoke Thursday morning about Taveras and the possibility of him making the big league club out of Spring Training.
“I understand all the excitement and where you don’t want to limit a potential player that can play at this level, regardless of his age or maturity,” Matheny said. “But you also have to figure out what’s best for him. Does he need to keep playing? That’s an argument. We have to see what we have when we leave here, we have to see how he performs, we have to see how he handles the different situations we put him in.
“It’s just way too early to come up with the answers to all those things with what we’ve seen so far. We’re just going to keep putting him out there and keep watching. I’ve been very impressed with all the little things because he’s been very mature with this experience. Guys tell him something and he’s the first one to listen and figure out how to apply it. I’ve seen two different occasions now where he’s gone out of his way to try and talk to somebody else about something.
“He’s getting it, he really is, and then obviously the talent. The talent, he’s talented, so it’s just a matter of watching how things play out with the rest of our roster and see how he continues to perform.”
It would seem to be an extreme long shot for Taveras to make the club out of spring training. The Cardinals would rather he play daily at Triple-A and get at-bats than be a bench player and see limited playing time in St. Louis.
The final outfield spot on the Cardinals bench will likely come down to Shane Robinson, Justin Christian and Adron Chambers.
Taveras could work his way into the mix should the Cardinals suffer a key injury to one of their starting outfielders, either during spring training or the early part of the regular season. Most expect Taveras to make the club at some point this season.