JUPITER, Fla. -- Though the Cardinals won't trim their roster to 25 until after Friday's final Grapefruit League game, manager Mike Matheny has already informed players not projected to be on that roster of the team's intentions. Among those headed back to the Minors is top prospect Oscar Taveras, who will start the year in Triple-A.
Taveras, 20, has remained in camp this long in case injuries to any of the Cardinals' outfielders left the organization in a spot where it had to push Taveras onto the Major League roster immediately. With Carlos Beltran proving he can tolerate the pain from a fractured right toe, the Cardinals don't have such need.
"I thought it was a terrific learning experience for him," Matheny said of Taveras' first big league camp. "I don't think there could have been a better spring for somebody as far as how much was invested into him. And how he responded is exactly how he should respond. He's got things that he needs to work on and he knows those things."
After spending all of the 2012 season in Double-A, Taveras will face improved competition a level up this season. He'll finish the Grapefruit League season with more at-bats than anyone else in the organization. Through Thursday, Taveras has 22 hits in 74 at-bats (.297 average).
"There are some things he needs to keep doing, and we talked about those," Matheny said. "I think it was just a great step in his maturity and his progress in his career. We've been clear that this is the same player we need you to be in Memphis, and we follow closer than what you think. You never know how this stuff works out. Do what you can do. Control what you can control. And in the end, you'll be where you are supposed to be."
Jenifer Langosch is a reporter for MLB.com. Read her blog, By Gosh, It's Langosch, and follow her on Twitter @LangoschMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.