Taveras' promotion prompts contested center field

Taveras' promotion prompts contested center field

ST. LOUIS -- The Cardinals have run into a logjam in the outfield, creating uncertainty for what may happen with the lineup on any given day.

With the promotion of 21-year-old outfielder Oscar Taveras, who will likely get extensive playing time in the corner outfield positions, center field is a three-way race.

"I think center field is still a little bit in play, if you will," Cardinals general manager John Mozeliak said. "[Jon] Jay's hitting, so Jay deserves opportunities to continue to play."

Jay was hitting .293 in 47 games entering Saturday's game against San Francisco. He hit a bases-clearing double Saturday night and has hit .400 (10-for-25) in his last eight games.

There is also Randal Grichuk, a 22-year-old who hit .315 with a .589 slugging percentage and 10 homers at Triple-A before being recalled Friday. The Cardinals promoted the young outfielder with the idea that his playing time wouldn't suffer.

"We're going to continue to get looks in for Randal and see what we can see," Cardinals manager Mike Matheny said. "We don't want to waste how well he's done and the timing he's been kind of able to put together."

The odd-man out could be Peter Bourjos, whom the Cardinals acquired during the offseason. Bourjos has hit just .204 in 41 games this season.

"Right now, Bourjos is going to have to understand his role may be diminished a little bit and may be seen more as a defensive replacement late in the game," Mozeliak said.

For now, there is no plan for how the outfield rotation might work in the coming weeks. Jay got the start Saturday afternoon.

Alex Halsted is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.