With packed center field, Cards not rushing Taveras

With packed center field, Cards not rushing Taveras

ATLANTA -- Manager Mike Matheny admitted uncertainty as to how he'll continue divvying up playing time among his three center fielders. It does not appear, however, that he'll have a fourth candidate to consider in the immediate future.

Having heard the public pleas for Oscar Taveras' promotion, general manager John Mozeliak downplayed the organization's urgency to summon its top prospect to St. Louis. Recovered from an ankle injury that shortened his 2013 season and stalled his start this spring, Taveras has begun the regular season strong in Triple-A.

He had a 16-game hitting streak snapped over the weekend and is batting .301/.357/.495 through 27 games. Taveras has, however, played only four games in center field, the position the Cardinals could conceivably play him when they promote him. The Cardinals would prefer Taveras get more experience before playing center regularly in the Majors.

At the same time, there is no playing time to be had in either corner outfield spot, which Allen Craig and Matt Holliday have covered.

"There's no doubt that he's playing well and that's a good thing," Mozeliak said. "I know a lot is being made about Oscar coming to St. Louis. Right now, I just don't even think that is a logical thing to do because there are a lot of question marks going on in the outfield to begin with. I think it would just muddy it up at this point. He is playing every day, and I think that's good for him. If he continues to do what he's doing, he'll obviously make this a very difficult decision at some point."

Mozeliak reiterated that he sees little value in calling Taveras up unless the Cardinals are prepared to have him be an everyday player. The Cardinals would rather play on without Taveras for a while longer than slow his growth by making him a part-time player.

While Taveras prepares himself for an eventual call, Matheny continues to rotate center fielders. Bourjos drew the start on Monday -- his first since April 26 -- as Matheny saw a favorable matchup as an opportunity to get Bourjos right. Bourjos, who entered the game hitless in his last 18 at-bats, was 4-for-10 lifetime against Aaron Harang.

"We're still working our way through it," Matheny said of his three-man rotation. "I know it's frustrating for definitely two of them. One of them [Grichuk] is still kind of just excited to be here, I think, though I know he wants to be there [in the starting lineup] as well. We have to feel our way through it."

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.