Monday, February 25, 2013
CF not in the Cards for Beltran
By Doug Mittler
The St. Louis Cardinals are reluctant to use Carlos Beltran in center field at any point this season, a decision that makes it easier for Shane Robinson to land a roster spot, says Derrick Goold of the Post-Dispatch.
Manager Mike Matheny says Beltran will be the starting right fielder, and any reserve outfielder must have the ability to play center. Robinson has those qualifications and can play center on days when Jon Jay is rested, as could Adron Chambers and Justin Christian. Beltran started seven games in center field last season, but Matheny says it would be a "stretch" for the seven-time All-Star to play there this season.
The plan could work against a roster spot for first baseman Matt Adams, who hit .244 with two homers in a 27-game audition last season. For Adams to get some at-bats, the Cards would have to move Allen Craig to a corner outfield spot with Beltran in center, an option that is no longer on the table.
The more intriguing possibility in all this is that Oscar Taveras, whom ESPN Insider Keith law ranked No. 2 on his Top 100 Prospects list, could be in consideration sooner than expected if he proves he can handle playing centerfield. The 20-year-old phenom tore up Double-A in 2012 and is projected to be a corner outfielder down the road, but he has seen the vast majority of his action in center, including 93 games last year.