Hamstring tightness sidelines Cardinals’ Taveras

Injuries are costing Oscar Taveras precious time on the field in spring training.

Steve Mitchell/Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

VIERA, Fla. — The already slim chances of top prospect Oscar Taveras making the Cardinals’ roster out of spring training have taken another hit.

Taveras reported tightness in his right hamstring during Saturday’s game and was pulled for a pinch-hitter before his fourth at-bat. Taveras was ruled out for Sunday’s game against the Nationals but made the trip to Space Coast Stadium and participated in pre-game batting practice.

"Time to slow things down a little bit, unfortunately," manager Mike Matheny said Sunday morning. "I was hoping to have him in there playing today. A tight hamstring doesn’t allow us to do that."

Taveras missed the first six days of the exhibition season because the club felt he was favoring his left ankle to protect his surgically repaired right ankle. Cleared to play for the first time Friday, he doubled in his first at-bat and showed no issues when running. He hit the ball hard in his first at-bat Saturday but finished his day 0-for-3, leaving him 1 for 6.

Matheny said he did not know when Taveras would get another chance to play in a game.

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"We need to have him healthy to see what he can do," Matheny said.

Another of the club’s top prospects, 2013 first-round pick Marco Gonzales, also has been slowed down. Gonzales, who hasn’t pitched since the spring-training opener, has been dealing with a tight left foreman and will not pitch in any more big-league exhibitions.

He is expected to be reassigned to minor-league camp Monday "to start getting on a program for his long season ahead of him," Matheny said.

On the positive side of the injury front, center fielder Peter Bourjos was back in the lineup for the first time in a week and led off against Nationals ace Stephen Strasburg.

"I know he’s been excited to get back in there," Matheny said.

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