The Cardinals optioned baseball's No. 2 prospect back to Triple-A Memphis to clear room -- both on the roster and in the lineup -- for first baseman Matt Adams, who was activated from the 15-day disabled list after missing 13 games due to a left calf strain.
"The way everybody should think about it is simply that we need Oscar to be playing every day," Cardinals general manager John Mozeliak said. "If we weren't going to be able to get him everyday at-bats here, he's better off doing it in Memphis. I do think that his time up here was valuable, I think he learned a lot. It wouldn't surprise me if at some point he was back here with the club."
Taveras' much-anticipated arrival to the Majors began emphatically on the final day of May, when he scorched a pitch off the back wall of the Cardinals' bullpen in right field at Busch Stadium for his first career hit.
The rest of his stay was more subdued. Taveras appeared in 11 games for the Cardinals, making 10 starts in right field while hitting .189 (7-for-37).
Albeit a small sample size, Taveras' numbers were a far cry from what he had done in the Minors. He was hitting. .325 at Triple-A this season before his callup and is a .321 career hitter in the Minors in parts of six seasons.
"He could have made the decision a lot harder had he put up just big numbers, but he didn't," Mozeliak said. "We still believe in his development and still think that's the most important thing."
The option the Cardinals wrestled with was whether to send down Taveras or 22-year-old Randal Grichuk.
Grichuk has hit .136 (6-for-44) this season over two stays with the Cardinals. The benefit of keeping Grichuk, Mozeliak said, is that he provides a right-handed power threat off the bench and can play all three outfield positions. Taveras has, thus far in his development, been held to the corners.
With Adams injured, right fielder Allen Craig slid up to first and Taveras moved to right. Adams, who appeared in four Minor League rehab games with Memphis this week, going 3-for-15 with two RBIs, will return to first base.
That move left little room in the outfield, sending Taveras back to Triple-A.
"We're trying to get Oscar consistent playing time, more than anything else, and give him the opportunity to go and also get that good feel for his swing back," Cardinals manager Mike Matheny said. "I thought he did a pretty nice job here, but we all know there's another level there in his game."