Cardinals activate Matt Adams, option Oscar Taveras to Triple-A Memphis

Jeff Curry-USA TODAY Sports

The Cardinals shuffled their roster, and the highly-touted Taveras was sent down.

The St. Louis Cardinals will welcome back their Opening Day 1B, and they opted to demote the top prospect in their system to make room.

Matt Adams had been on the 15-day DL since May 29th due to a calf strain, and after a brief four game rehab stint with Triple-A Memphis, the Cardinals will bring him back prior to their series opener against the Washington Nationals tonight.

Adams' emergence in 2013 prompted a series of lineup changes for the Cardinals prior to the start of the 2013 season.  With the departure of RF Carlos Beltran to free agency, previous 1B Allen Craig moved to the outfield to allow St. Louis to get Adams' bat into the lineup.  He hasn't hit for quite the power expected of him so far in 2014,  yet Adams has swung a hot bat, hitting .325/.337/.474 in 202 PA, though his 5/40 BB/K ratio is a bit extreme.

Taveras, on the other hand, will yield his spot on the 25-man roster and head back to Memphis after hitting just .189/.225/.297 in 40 PA since being called up.  Still just 22 years old, the promising OF has been universally considered among the top handful of prospects in all of baseball for the length of his professional career, and he will absolutely play a part with Cardinals in the big leagues at some point later this season.  Whether or not that happens before a September call up will depend on injuries and whether he finds his swing on his second stint with Memphis in 2014, but if he manages to replicate the .325/.373/.524 line from the beginning of his season there, he'll be the first bat summoned back to the big leagues when needed.

This won't be the first time that the Cardinals have opted to send a struggling, highly-rated prospect back to Triple-A to work on things, either.  Kolten Wong began the season as both a rookie and the club's starting 2B, but he was optioned to Memphis after stumbling out of the gate.  Since being recalled, Wong has hit .277 with a .347 OBP, however, and St. Louis will hope that Taveras can follow a similar pattern.

Given that Adams is exclusively a 1B in National League games, Craig will likely move back to the OF, at least against RHP.  While Adams has mashed RHP at a .370/.379/.545 rate in 2014, he's hit just .150/.171/.200 against LHP in 41 PA so far this season.

Both players are on the 40-man roster, meaning no further transactions will be needed.

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