Taveras still not ready for game action

Taveras still not ready for game action

JUPITER, Fla. -- Until Oscar Taveras shows that he is ready to run at 100 percent effort, the Cardinals plan to hold him out of their Grapefruit League games.

Taveras, who had season-ending right ankle surgery in August, has been slowly increasing the intensity at which he is running. Manager Mike Matheny watched Taveras run on Thursday and sensed that the top prospect was still running with hesitation. He also got fatigued late in the conditioning work.

"I think a lot of it is just that confidence in his mind," Matheny said. "He's just not quite there. I think he told you guys the other day that he was around 80 percent. But 80 percent isn't going to work right now. I think the medical team seems very confident that it is going to just take him pushing kind of through the last little steps more mentally, more than anything else, and just trusting it. Once we feel confident that he's not holding anything back, then we can use him in the games."

The Cardinals have not ruled out carrying Taveras on their Opening Day roster, though this delay will lessen the amount of looks the staff will be able to get of the 21-year-old outfielder. He was expected to need a breakout spring in order to head north with the Major League team.

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.