Matheny on Taveras: “We just need to figure out how he fits with us”

By Jenifer Langosch/

Shortly after the Cardinals announced the call-up of outfielder and top prospect Oscar Taveras, manager Mike Matheny took a few minutes on the team’s off day to speak with a reporter from and the St. Louis Post-Dispatch about the move. Here is some of what Matheny had to say:

On purpose of roster move… “We’re trying to generate some offense. I don’t think this is going to be exactly like we saw before when we had him up where it was, ‘Here you go, you’re going to be in there every day.’ But we’re going to have to find some considerable time for him.”

On where Taveras is going to fit, whether centerfield is an option and what this means for Allen Craig/Matt Adams… “I think it’s going to be shared around. We’re not ruling out an occasional day in centerfield if things line up perfectly with the right style pitcher that we think is going to produce more groundballs, depending on the field. For example, the park here in San Francisco is not very conducive to a non-centerfielder who plays centerfield. It’s a big yard to cover. We’re not ruling out that’s an option.

“We’re also going to try and get everybody else a day here and there and kind of spread it around. We’re going to try and be as creative as possible to get him playing time and make sure our other guys are getting the time that they deserve as well.”

On whether the move was made in reaction to lack of offense in LA… “It was already in the works. We knew that would probably be part of the plan moving forward [and] to see how we can add to our depth, which, too, strengthens our bench as well as gives us the chance to get a guy in there who has been swinging the bat well.”

“We just always kept in conversation about who would be the likely fit, about who would come in and bolster our offense. And how can we find time? With the DL to [Matt] Adams [earlier this month], it was pretty simple, let’s just let [Taveras] play and see what we’ve got. After that, trying to incorporate him pushed the need for a little creativity, not a lot unlike what we did with Matt Adams a year ago. I think that proved to be really beneficial with how that did help our bench. Every day we had a real nice bat off our bench regardless of how it played out.

“A lot of this is going to come down to, we’re going to throw him in some opportunities, but he’s going to have to produce. And if he produces, just like any of the other guys, you keep swinging it right, you’re going to have the opportunities.”

On Taveras’ results during most recent Triple-A stint… “I think we’ve seen some really good nights. We’ve seen some other days where, it’s baseball. You’re going to have good ones and bad ones. Overall, I think he’s done a real nice job. I think everybody understands he doesn’t have a whole lot more to prove there. He’s done what he needs to do. We just need to figure out how he fits with us.”

On assessment of his previous time with Cardinals… “I thought he did a nice job. A lot of things that I said before I still stand by. He didn’t look like he was overmatched. There were times when he didn’t look as sharp as we know he can be. But he still put pretty good at-bats together. Not getting great results. One more thing that we’re excited to see is him putting it together on a consistent basis at our level.”

On whether this is a message that team is showing new urgency… “I don’t want to pass two messages – One, that we never were in a state of urgency because we have been since Opening Day. And secondly, I don’t want it to come across that we’ve lost patience with anybody. I still see us having a group of guys with the potential to throw up some huge offensive numbers in consistent spurts. I guess the message here is: How can we improve our offense? And part of that is taking a known quantity we have in the Minor League level and seeing if we can somehow maximize him and use him with what we already have to make us even better.”

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If we’re going with extra bats,then Robinson and Bourjus need to be shipped out and Piscotti, Grichuk, any big bat need to be up. This team looks lost, bored, no enthusiasm. Keep Jay in cf. He’s our most dependable hitter.

I’m still trying to figure out how Bourjos, Ellis, Robinson and the rest of our bench full of non-hitters “fits in” with this club!

Are we going to depend on these minor league guys or r we going to try to win again? Time to produce some offense or it’s time to go get a power hitter! This is the most frustrating team in recent memory—virtually no bench–rookie pitching –except wainwright and Lynn–and no real run production—I am still hopeful!!!

It is easy to “figure out how he fits in,” Traveras starts everyday, pick a spot in the outfield and play.

Their stupidest move was moving Carpenter off 2B, He was an all star there and the team needs more punch than wong or ellis can deliver. Put carpenter back on 2b and put piscotty on 3b–he played there in college. Can’t be any worse than mendoza line ellis who is getting $6M from cards.

I am tired of reading fans saying MM not doing a good job. If you were told Holliday would have 5 home runs, Craig would be hitting under 250, 3 of the top 6 starters would have spent time on the DL or be out for the season, would anyone have thought they could be doing this well. Taveras, Wong, Adams, Carpenter, Molina and these great young pitchers, all bode very well for the future core of this team. The most puzzling of these issues is the 5 home runs by Holliday (Wong has one less). Looks to me like the situation is getting squared away and hope for a better more consistent second half.

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