SAN FRANCISCO -- Any earlier hesitancy by the Cardinals to play top prospect Oscar Taveras in center field has, at least for the time being, disappeared along with the offense.
It's that recent absence of offense, manager Mike Matheny said, that prompted him to start Taveras in center on Wednesday in a ballpark that Matheny had previously said wasn't ideally suited to for a non-centerfielder. The fact that the Cardinals were entering the game on a 24-inning scoreless streak made that inconsequential.
"Our need for offense supersedes our concern about defending center field," Matheny said. "Hopefully we can get something going. It's no secret that we're having a hard time getting our offense rolling. Getting somebody in there might make a difference."
Taveras played right field in each of his first 13 big league games but has plenty of center-field experience in the Minors. He played 228 games at the position over six Minor League seasons, including 17 times for Triple-A Memphis this year.
"I feel comfortable at any position," Taveras said. "It doesn't matter."
While the Cardinals put the 22-year-old outfielder between Matt Holliday and Allen Craig on Wednesday, the expectation is still that the majority of Taveras' playing time in the immediate future will come in one of the two corner spots.
"It really comes down to we need to get something going," Matheny said. "We need to score some runs. Even for [Wednesday's starter Adam Wainwright], he needs a couple. It's been frustrating for all of us figuring out what we need to do to get it going."