Top prospect Taveras to have season-ending surgery
ST. LOUIS -- Still bothered by a high right ankle sprain that he suffered in May, Cardinals top prospect Oscar Taveras is scheduled to undergo a season-ending surgical procedure next week. General manager John Mozeliak said the recommendation to have Taveras' ankle scoped came from Charlotte (N.C.)-based foot and ankle specialist, Dr. Robert Anderson, this week.
The procedure is not expected to affect Taveras' readiness for next Spring Training, but it does end his chances of being among the Cardinals' callups in September. He finishes the season having played 46 games in his first Triple-A season. Taveras had a .306/.341/.462 slash line, with 12 doubles, five homers and 32 RBIs. He played only 15 games after spraining his ankle on May 12.
"Obviously it's disappointing in the sense he didn't get the at-bats," Mozeliak said. "I still think that when he played, he played well. It's unfortunate, but injuries happen in this game. This one doesn't seem to be to the point where we have to worry about next year."
Taveras, 21, had been rehabbing his ankle in Florida since early July. He started and stopped his rehab work several times, most recently on Monday. After Taveras alerted the organization's medical staff to continued discomfort, they sent him to see Dr. Anderson, who performed ankle surgery on Yankees shortstop Derek Jeter last fall.
The specifics of the procedure will not be known until the scope is done. It could be determined that ligaments need repairing or that cartilage needs to be cleaned out. Taveras' timetable for recovery will be announced after surgery is completed. At that time, too, the Cardinals can determine whether the outfielder would have any chance to participate in winter ball this offseason.
Before being slowed by ankle issues, Taveras, who currently tops MLB.com's prospect list, was projected to be in the Majors before season's end. Even during the recent weeks of his rehab, the Cardinals were still considering him a candidate to join the club when rosters expand next month.
Mozeliak said it was too premature to speculate how this setback could affect Taveras' chances of making the Opening Day roster next season. He also implied that Taveras' shortened season will not have much of an effect on how the Cardinals' proceed this offseason, particularly with regards to Carlos Beltran. Taveras was seen as the natural successor to Beltran in right field, though that was before his season was interrupted with the ankle issue.