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Cardinals prospect Oscar Taveras undergoes ankle surgery

Aug 22, 2013, 8:33 PM EDT

Oscar Taveras AP

We likely would have seen Cardinals top prospect Oscar Taveras in the majors by now if he was healthy, but his impact won’t be felt until 2014.

According to Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, Taveras underwent surgery today to repair ligament damage and remove cartilage from his ailing right ankle. He’s expected to be in a walking boot for the next eight weeks, which makes his participation in winter ball unlikely. However, the hope is that he’ll be ready to go for spring training next year.

Taveras, who was ranked as the No. 3 prospect by Baseball America coming into the season, originally injured the ankle on a hard slide into second base in mid May. He attempted to come back a few times before finally shutting things down last month.

While the injury slowed Taveras’ development this year, his potential is unquestioned. The 21-year-old batted .306/.341/.462 with five home runs, five stolen bases and 32 RBI in 46 games this season in Triple-A and owns a .320/.377/.518 batting line over five seasons in the minors. If his recovery goes smoothly, he could be rooming center field at Busch Stadium next year.

  1. paperlions - Aug 22, 2013 at 9:14 PM

    He should have got some cream and some lozenges, dude would be in MLB hitting .500 with 20 HRs by now.

  2. Carl Hancock - Aug 22, 2013 at 9:24 PM

    Love the Cardinals but they constantly mishandle injuries. Oscar was rushed back. Now they are paying the price. Look at Furcal and the decision to “rehab” his torn elbow ligament instead of having surgery. Same with Jason Motte. For such a good, smart organization they make a lot of stupid decisions with how injuries are handled.

    • paperlions - Aug 22, 2013 at 9:40 PM

      You just described EVERY organization. First, they never tell the truth in public, they are always more optimistic than the situation warrants. Second, when an elite athlete is rehabbing an injury and trying to compete at an elite level, setbacks always happen. This isn’t unique to the Cardinals.

      • paperlions - Aug 22, 2013 at 10:16 PM

        To give examples, on the front page of HBT right now are:

        Wandy Rodriguez set to see Andrews after a setback. He’s been out with “elbow tightness” since early June.

        Brandon Beachy going to see Andrews after another setback in his recovery from TJ surgery.

        Melky Cabrera out for the last few weeks with a knee strain…suddenly, he is out the rest of the year.

        Broxton is done for the year. Needs elbow surgery, out with an elbow strain for 2 months already this year, sucked when he wasn’t on the DL…seems likely he’s getting TJ and will be done until at least late 2014.

        If you want, we can go to the next page and talk about Danny Espinosa’s shoulder, Halladay’s shoulder, Jeter’s calf/knee/ankle/whatever….it happens with every team…most people only care when it is a player on their team while ignoring all the rest.

      • Carl Hancock - Aug 23, 2013 at 4:20 AM

        To @paperlions, the examples you provide on HBT in no way vindicate the way the Cardinals handle injuries.

        These are players across many different teams. Yes it happens. But it happens to the Cardinals on a regular basis. Cardinal fans are used to it and basically automatically expect the worse I’m immediately.

        In the last year alone we’ve lost two players to Tommy John surgery (Rafael Furcal and Jason Motte) who tried for MONTHS to rehab the injury. In the case of Furcal had he went ahead and had Tommy John surgery last year when his injury occurred he’d be playing right now. Instead he’s sitting out the final year of a 2 year contract while the Shortstop position has been a hole in the Cardinals line up.

        Jason Motte had a similar situation, months of attempting to rehab a torn elbow ligament means his return from what eventually turned into Tommy John surgery will be that much longer. Even worse given he’s a pitcher and position players return from TJ surgery quicker than pitchers do.

        In both cases the fan base openly questioned why they were attempting rehab in situations that typically involve TJ surgery. Especially when in the case of Furcal he could have had the surgery and been able to contribute to the tem this season.

        Yadier Molina was recently on the DL after injuring his knee. He tweaked it in a game and rather than letting him rest it a few games he missed one game, comes back in and aggregates it and lands on the DL. They could have played it safer, especially with arguably the most faluable and important player on the team. Instead of playing it safe they pushed it and suffered the consequences.

        The same thing happened with Oscar Taveras.

        I could go on, rushing Chris Carpenter back for the playoffs instead of letting him rest up for this season for example. We know how that has gone. His career is over.

        Hell, Jamie Garcia is also out for the season with shoulder surgery on a shoulder that was injured last year and they once again attempted to “rehab” only to have it backfire and lose him to season ending shoulder surgery.

        And these are just examples that have taken place over the course of the last year or so. The examples on HBT are numerous players on numerous teams. Not the same situation.

        The only Cardinal player I’ve ever seen be able to rehab and continue playing with a torn elbow ligament is Albert Pujols, who still to this day has a damaged elbow ligament because he never had it repaired. But he plays first base (or this year primarily DH…) so it wasn’t as big a hindrance as it is on a Shortstop or Pitcher.

        I’m not the only Cardinal fan to see these recurring issues… both the national and local St. Louis media have questioned the Cardinals handling of injuries for quite a while now. Here’s an example that discusses Furcal and Carpenter: http://sports.yahoo.com/news/st-louis-cardinals-medical-staff-needs-checkup-furcal-224200259–mlb.html

    • stlouis1baseball - Aug 23, 2013 at 12:23 PM

      I am with you Carl.
      This is something my Father and I (especially my Father)…lament regularly.

  3. t3dstrik3r - Aug 22, 2013 at 10:19 PM

    Carl Hancock
    Aug 22, 2013, 6:24 PM PDT

    Are you claiming that Tavares re-injured his ankle when he tried to come back, and it was that second injury which necessitated this surgery? Where did you hear that?

    And Furcal? Rehab is always preferred over surgery, whenever possible. A physician has a professional and moral duty to recommend rehab if there’s a chance it will work, before cutting someone open. The fact that rehab was unsuccessful doesn’t mean the medical staff was wrong for attempting it.

    • Carl Hancock - Aug 23, 2013 at 4:31 AM

      See my comment above in a reply to paperlions. Those examples are all just in the last year.

      Sure rehab is preferred over surgery. But when dealing with torn elbow ligaments in position players such as a shortstop where throwing is critical or a player such as a pitcher, especially a power pitcher such as Motte…how often have you seen rehabbing a torn elbow ligament be successful?

      Had Furcal had TJ surgery when th injury happened he’d be playing right now. Motte still would have missed the season, but by waiting as long as they did it has pushed back his return from TJ surgery that much longer.

      Then there’s Jaime Garcia attempting to avoid surgery last year… Chris Carpenter being rushed back for the playoffs… Yadi rushed back after tweaking his knee resulting in it being injured further…. and now Taveras being rushed back repeatedly and ultimately ending in surgery.

      All my example in my reply to paperlions above took place within the last 12 months, minus the Pujols injury which I cited as the only known Cardinal player I’ve seen successfully “rehab” an elbow injury. But that’s just one more thing to eventually blow up on him as he gets older. He plays with it to this day.

      Plenty of examples of either the Cardinals simply not being truthful with the public and the fans regarding injuries. Handling them wrong. Or just bad luck. But it sure seems like a lot of bad luck if that is the case. Too much if you ask me.

      • crooner53 - Aug 23, 2013 at 2:10 PM

        You all assume the players WANT to have surgery and that they are being honest with the team. Garcia admitted he tried to play through it. I wouldn’t expect Carpenter to be anything less than a bulldog. MOST of the time the players, not the team, are responsible by either trying to play through an injury and making it worse…or not being honest with the team, doctors and themselves regarding the extent of an injury. You sound like the team WANTS to waste a multi-million dollar investment by rushing someone along

  4. steeldominance - Aug 23, 2013 at 12:24 PM

    Cardd should just hire Carl Hancock as the team doctor. Apparently without ever examining these players, he knows how their injuries should be handled. Every team has these issues. Its unfortunate that the Cards have lost guys in key positions but to criticize them for how they handle every injury is asinine. Hindsight is 20/20 you dope.

    • stlouis1baseball - Aug 23, 2013 at 12:51 PM

      But it Carl’s defense…these things seem to happen over and over again with the organization.
      His point about Furcal and Yadi are excellent examples. Personally, I said Yadi should have been sat down a week or two PRIOR to the All Star break. This would have given him ample time to heal while also paying dividends towards the end of the season. What did they do? Although him to not only continue to play…but he played over half the damn all star game!

      As Carl pointed out…
      “I’m not the only Cardinal fan to see these recurring issues… both the national and local St. Louis media have questioned the Cardinals handling of injuries for quite a while now. Here’s an example that discusses Furcal and Carpenter”
      : http://sports.yahoo.com/news/st-louis-cardinals-medical-staff-needs-checkup-furcal-224200259–mlb.html

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