3/6/2014 4:35 P.M. ET
Top prospect Taveras on verge of return
By Jenifer Langosch and Spencer Fordin / MLB.com
FORT MYERS, Fla. -- Oscar Taveras is getting closer and closer to making his spring debut.
Taveras, the Cardinals' top prospect, has been sidelined in Spring Training as he makes his way back from surgery on his right ankle. Taveras, who boasts a .320 career average in the Minor Leagues, went through running drills for manager Mike Matheny at Hammond Stadium on Thursday.
The outfielder looked good enough for the skipper to envision his return to the lineup soon, but the weather forecast made sure that wouldn't happen against the Twins. Matheny made his lineup plans with the expectation of rain, and sure enough, a steady downpour started an hour before gametime.
"He wasn't favoring it as much," said Matheny of the running drills. "He hit the bag running full-speed with his bad ankle. He was able to slide. Today isn't a good day for it, so we'll probably stay away from him. But he definitely took a step forward and made himself a possibility for tomorrow."
Taveras, ranked by MLB.com as the No. 3 prospect in baseball, played in just 47 games last year before the ankle injury ended his season. He batted .306 with five home runs for Triple-A Memphis, but he really turned heads by batting .321 with 23 homers for Double-A Springfield in 2012.
Taveras, just 21 years old, will still have plenty of time this spring to play himself into shape. The Cardinals are just trying to be as prudent as possible in limiting his exposure to injury.
"He's right there," said Matheny early Thursday. "We're about [at the] time to make that decision. We've just got to make sure he's got a couple other things that he needs to pass -- mostly running and hitting bases and being able to not favor [the ankle]. And sliding's another thing. That's how he hurt himself."
Waino not concerned after rain washes out debut
FORT MYERS, Fla. -- Adam Wainwright won't let the weather dampen his sense of humor. Wainwright, who has already been named the Cardinals' Opening Day starter, saw his Spring Training debut washed away by rain on Thursday, but still found a way to laugh about the circumstances.
"Just another no-hitter," he said of the rainout.
Wainwright, who finished second in the National League's Cy Young Award balloting last season, made the long drive to Fort Myers on Thursday and will get to pitch at home on Friday against the Marlins at 12:05 p.m. CT. Wainwright will throw two innings, and Lance Lynn, the previously scheduled starter, will get his work as a reliever.
Manager Mike Matheny said the Cardinals still have plenty of time to manipulate the rotation and keep Wainwright on turn for the team's Opening Day game on March 31. St. Louis has two games on Friday -- the one at home and a split-squad game at Port St. Lucie against the Mets at 12:10 p.m. CT -- and an off-day on March 18.
"We'll be able to work around the schedule. It's still fine," said Matheny of his rotation. "We've had great weather so far, so anything can happen here going forward. But they'll still get their work."
Wainwright said that he couldn't ever recall taking a nearly three-hour bus trip and then getting rained out in big league Spring Training camp, but he said it won't really affect his preparation. Wainwright had a chance to stretch and get ready on Thursday, but the rain came before he took the field.
And that may have been a blessing. Wainwright didn't have to pitch in inclement weather and didn't have to wait through the mental rigors of a delay. The 32-year-old looks forward to getting back on turn Friday, and he doesn't think the change will have too much of an effect.
"To be honest with you, at this point, it really doesn't matter a whole lot," he said. "If we were talking about throwing five or six innings, it would be a whole lot different than 30 pitches. I'm slated every fifth day to get to the right day for the season. Messing up a day or two here now is really no issue."
Matheny agreed with that assessment, and he said it's only natural that the weather gets in the way at some point. Prior to Thursday, said Matheny, the Cardinals have had ideal conditions.
"Look at this spring: We haven't had any kind of delay at all or adjusted schedule," said Matheny. "We've had perfect weather. It's been all you could ask for. These days happen."
Cards announce opening festivities for Ballpark Village
FORT MYERS, Fla. -- The Cardinals are a month away from their home opener at Busch Stadium, but they announced a series of events at the brand new Ballpark Village in St. Louis on Thursday.
Ballpark Village, a development adjacent to Busch Stadium that will feature several restaurants and entertainment venues, will host a series of grand opening events that begin on March 27. There will be a ribbon-cutting ceremony that day, and later a concert by recording artist Third Eye Blind.
"While we are still finalizing exact details, we want fans to circle some important dates," said Cardinals president Bill DeWitt III as part of an official press release on Thursday. "We are excited for everyone to finally see and experience everything that Ballpark Village has to offer."
The Cardinals have partnered with the Cordish Companies to build Ballpark Village, and the first phase of construction will be ready for Opening Day. The development will span seven city blocks of a 10-acre site just north of the stadium, expanding the ballpark experience.
Four new venues -- Cardinals Nation, FOX Sports Midwest Live!, Budweiser Brew House and Drunken Fish -- will open for lunch on March 28 at 11 a.m. CT, and Ballpark Village will host a VIP event to honor the construction workers that built the development later on that evening.
Several other venues will open in the week leading up to the Cardinals' home opener on April 7, and that day will also feature the grand opening of the Cardinals Nation Museum and Hall of Fame.
Fans can learn more about the project at cardinals.com/ballparkvillage and stlballparkvillage.com.
"More than a week's worth of opening festivities will highlight the multiple facets of Ballpark Village, creating tremendous excitement in the community," said Chase Martin, development director for Cordish, in an official statement. "This is a special development unlike any other in the United States."
Cramp subsiding, Bourjos nearing return
JUPITER, Fla. -- Peter Bourjos said that the cramp in his right leg "has loosened up," leaving the center fielder optimistic that he could return to Grapefruit League play as early as Friday.
Bourjos, who has not played since Sunday, stayed back at the Cardinals' complex on Thursday while most position players made the trip across the state to Fort Myers. Back in Jupiter, Bourjos participated in a full morning workout program. That included conditioning work, fielding and hitting.
Bourjos opened spring play 2-for-5 with two runs scored. He still has plenty of time to log a sufficient number of at-bats to get ready for the regular season. The Cardinals are using the spring to evaluate how they plan to divvy up center-field playing time for Bourjos and Jon Jay at the start of the season.
Jenifer Langosch is a reporter for MLB.com. Read her blog, By Gosh, It's Langosch, and follow her on Twitter @LangoschMLB. Spencer Fordin is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.