7/31/2014 9:15 P.M. ET
Deal for Lackey gives Taveras increased role
By Jenifer Langosch / MLB.com
SAN DIEGO -- Though general manager John Mozeliak was insistent that Thursday's trade was not made to solve the logjam in right field, it nevertheless paves the way for top prospect Oscar Taveras to get the regular playing time that he has lacked since his second callup.
After weeks of splitting the right-field duties with Allen Craig, Taveras looks to get a healthy dose of at-bats as he tries to prove himself ready for the everyday assignment. He made a statement in his first one post-Trade Deadline, knocking the second homer of his career to jumpstart a 6-2 win over the Padres.
"I felt I have been swinging well," Taveras said, with bullpen catcher Roberto Espinoza translating. "Now with this news, I'll probably get more playing time. I hope to start feeling more comfortable playing more, but I'm always working and always focused."
Taveras has accrued 63 at-bats since being recalled on the final day of June. That was nine more than Craig had in July, though Taveras only had slightly more success. Thursday's homer was the first since his Major League debut in May, and it also gave him his first multi-RBI game.
Coming into Thursday, the 22-year-old was batting .220/.246/.254 with two extra-base hits and four RBIs in this second stint with the Major League team. His inability to carry over his Triple-A success led to the month-long timeshare in right field.
"As you can imagine, if you're [manager] Mike Matheny, that's a difficult spot to be in," Mozeliak said. "You have Allen Craig, who has been a proven performer who is struggling this year. We add Oscar to the roster, and certainly I'll have to take responsibility for that. I didn't feel like he had much left to prove at Triple-A. You're trying to play both players. You're trying to get both guys going. Neither had performed at a very high rate at that time, and it just became a very difficult balance for everybody involved.
"But that was not what pushed this deal. It was more what we felt we had in the pipeline. We felt like this kind of positioning might be the same a year from now or even two years from now. This was a good solution all the way around."
Mozeliak was referencing the stockpile of young outfielders the Cardinals have in the upper levels of their Minor League system.
Matheny would not entertain speculation about Taveras' playing time in the coming days, saying on Thursday that he would be starting "at least for today." Unless the Cardinals opt to add one of those other young outfielders to the roster on Friday, however, this would seem to be Taveras' opportunity to shine.
"He's got to play the game. He's got to play it right," Matheny said. "That is going to be part of his responsibility. There are things he's going to have to work on to try and get better. He's going to have a good opportunity to do it."
Cards to reveal rotation after acquisitions arrive
SAN DIEGO -- The Cardinals expect to welcome starters Justin Masterson and John Lackey at Busch Stadium on Friday, at which time the organization will announce its rotation order for the homestand.
Before the organization landed Lackey in a Thursday deal with the Red Sox, the Cardinals planned to send Adam Wainwright, Masterson and Lance Lynn to the mound in the team's upcoming three games against Milwaukee. Wainwright will still start Friday, but St. Louis does have the flexibility to alter its plans after that.
Lackey last pitched on Saturday, meaning he'd be available to take the mound as soon as the Cardinals need him to. If St. Louis opts to just slot him into Joe Kelly's former rotation spot, that would put Lackey in line to start the Cardinals' series opener against the Red Sox on Tuesday. It's possible that Kelly and Lackey could actually oppose each other that night at Busch Stadium.
"I'm not concerned about it," manager Mike Matheny said of that potential schedule quirk. "I think [Lackey] would be fine with that if that's the case."
• Though the Cardinals were done dealing after Thursday's trade with the Red Sox, the club does still have a pair of roster moves to make upon returning to St. Louis on Friday. After playing a position player short on Thursday, the team will replenish its bench by adding a hitter from Triple-A. The Cardinals are also expected to send out one of their eight relievers, as they'll need to make room on the 25-man roster for Justin Masterson.
• General manager John Mozeliak acknowledged that the Cardinals were not close to making another trade after the Lackey deal was finalized.
"We had sort of sniffed some things, but nothing that I felt was really close," Mozeliak said.
The team did not pursue a trade with the Rays for lefty David Price on Thursday.
• With their win on Thursday, the Cardinals avoided their first three-game sweep since July 26-28, 2013. St. Louis has been swept in a pair of two-game series this season.
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.