Cardinals stud prospect Oscar Taveras said back in January that his surgically repaired ankle felt “100 percent” after causing him to miss much of last season, but after seeing him run early in camp the team disagrees.
In fact, manager Mike Matheny told Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post Dispatch this morning that Taveras is running at about 80 percent and then added that “80 percent isn’t good enough.”
Which means Taveras has not been cleared for game action yet and his chances of cracking the Opening Day roster–which may have been fairly slim to begin with–are dropping lower by the day. More likely he’ll head to Triple-A, try to crush some Pacific Coast League pitching for a month or two, and force his way into the Cardinals’ plans. Assuming that he can get healthy at some point, of course.
The Red Sox and Mariners left nothing on the table Friday night, going head-to-head in a series opener that eventually ended 14-10 in the Sox’ favor. Led by Steven Wright and Wade LeBlanc — neither of whom made it past the fifth inning — the teams combined for 34 hits and four home runs, including two moonshots from Seattle’s Nelson Cruz and a five-run rally that gave Boston the edge in the seventh.
In the sixth inning, however, the Red Sox were still scrambling to make up a four-run deficit. Left fielder J.D. Martinez cut it in half with one swing, pouncing on an 89.5-mph fastball from Seattle right-hander Nick Vincent and posting it to dead center field for a two-run shot.
The 427-foot blast was Martinez’s 23rd of the season, tying Mike Trout for the most home runs in the league this year. While he still has a ways to go before eclipsing the career-best 45-HR mark he set in 2017, he’s off to a strong start this season: Entering Friday’s game, the 30-year-old slugger was batting .315/.386/.623 with a 1.009 OPS and AL-leading 55 RBI in 308 PA. He finished Friday’s game 4-for-5 with five RBI, just one triple shy of hitting for the cycle.
Heading into the All-Star Break, both Martinez and Trout still have some competition for the home run title. Jose Ramirez is sitting at 22 homers, while Nelson Cruz and Khris Davis are tied at 20 apiece.