ST. PETERSBURG -- Matt Adams, who can come off the disabled list beginning Friday, started a Minor League rehab assignment on Monday, further indication that he should be ready to return to the Cardinals on or just after that earliest date of eligibility.
And with that return nearing, the question then becomes: Who will stay, and who will go?
In a 24-hour period late last month, the Cardinals added outfielders Randal Grichuk and Oscar Taveras to the roster. The first move was made in preparation for the incorporation of the designated hitter during this current road trip. Taveras' summons came when Adams landed on the DL.
Once Adams returns, only one of the two young outfielders is likely to stay. It is a decision about which manager Mike Matheny has refrained from speculating.
"I know it's a fair question, but I don't think there's a fair answer to start drawing all the conclusions of what might start happening here if and when Adams does come back," Matheny said. "It's a topic of conversation, I get it. I would just rather stay away from it and let the guys play the game. We'll figure that stuff out when the time comes. There's just not a benefit right now to them for this stuff being [out there]."
The looming decision is one that has several layers. The Cardinals will have to consider playing time -- would either Grichuk or Taveras stay and still start regularly? -- and what that would mean for other position players on the roster. Grichuk could play center field, though Matheny continues to praise the job done by Peter Bourjos (defensively) and Jon Jay (offensively) while covering that position.
Playing Taveras in center field will still be a push, which means if he were to stay and play, Adams' starts would likely be cut into. Keeping either player in a part-time playing role could affect their development.
Matheny, when asked if he wanted to see Taveras in center soon, said that was not a priority, suggesting that the Cardinals are not considering moving him there upon Adams' return.
"I think we're all pretty aware that you could put him out there," Matheny said. "It doesn't necessarily mean that's a position that he's suited for. We've seen him play center field before [in the Minors]. He can play it. I think it depends on what your need is. If we're at a straight offensive need, then I believe that's something you'd have to entertain. But seeing what we have as far as center field goes, you look at some of the games we've had here, and if you didn't have some of the defense we had out there, some of those games have a completely different complexion to them."
Taveras is 7-for-33 since his callup on May 31. Grichuk, in two stints with the club, is 6-for-39.
Wong, Holliday return to Cards lineup
ST. PETERSBURG -- The Cardinals had their full complement of position players once again available as both Kolten Wong and Matt Holliday returned to the lineup for Tuesday's series opener against the Rays.
Wong missed the Cardinals' recent series in Toronto while recovering from a left shoulder injury sustained a week ago. He resumed swinging on Sunday, took Monday off and was back at second base on Tuesday. The recent time off provided the necessary time for the shoulder inflammation to subside.
"There's no pain in my swing right now," Wong said on Tuesday. "I can finish my swing fully without any kind of hesitation or pain coming through my shoulder. That's a big difference right now."
Holliday, a game-time scratch on Sunday due to lower back tightness, was back in his customary three-hole spot on Tuesday, serving as the team's designated hitter. Yadier Molina was back behind the plate, too, after a series in which he sat one day and played the other two as a DH.
Cards sign eight Draft picks
ST. PETERSBURG -- Second baseman Darren Seferina (fifth round) and outfielder Nick Thompson (eighth round) are among the first wave of eight players the Cardinals have signed from their 2014 First-Year Player Draft class. Both will report to the Cardinals' short-season club in State College (Pa.), which begins its season Friday.
The Cardinals did not release signing bonus figures for each player, though the two bonuses will count against the Cardinals' total money pool of $7,087,200 million. The slot value assigned for Seferina was $280,100 and $152,400 for Thompson. They are not bound to sign at those figures.
Also coming to terms on an agreement were left-hander Jordan DeLorenzo (12th round), right-hander Matt Pearce (13th round), second baseman Casey Turgeon (24th round), right-hander Landon Beck (25th round), right-hander Tyler Dunnington (28th round) and left-hander Sash Kuebel (38th round).
Dunnington and Kuebel, a St. Louis native, will begin their professional careers with the Cardinals' Gulf Coast League club in Jupiter, Fla. DeLorenzo, Pearce, Turgeon and Beck have all been placed on the rookie-league Johnson City (Tenn.) roster. Both of those teams begin play next week.
The Cardinals have until July 18 to sign players taken in the Draft. They cannot yet negotiate with right-handers Andrew Morales (2nd round) or Dominic Moreno (33rd round), as both are on teams that have advanced to the College World Series. Morales and his University of California-Irvine teammates open play against the University of Texas on Saturday. Texas Tech University, which has Moreno on its staff, plays its first game on Sunday.
• Lefty Tyler Lyons (left shoulder strain) began a Minor League rehab assignment on Monday with Double-A Springfield. Lyons, who has been on the disabled list since May 13, pitched two innings, allowing one run on three hits and striking out three. Lyons threw 24 pitches in the outing.
• Five players from the Cardinals' Double-A affiliate have been named to the Texas League All-Star Game, which will be played on June 24. Outfielder James Ramsey headlines the group, which also includes first baseman Jonathan Rodriguez, catcher Cody Stanley, right-hander Joey Donofrio and left-hander Kyle Hald.
• Two more Peoria players -- catcher Carson Kelly and pitcher Zack Loraine -- have been added to the Midwest League All-Star Team, giving Peoria a Western Division-most seven All-Stars. Kelly and Loraine join teammates Ronald Castillo, C.J. McElroy Jr., Juan Herrera, Arturo Reyes and Chris Perry as Peoria's representatives.
• Marco Gonzales, the Cardinals' top pick in the 2013 First-Year Player Draft, pitched 5 1/3 innings, allowing seven hits and two runs (one earned), in his most recent start for Springfield on Sunday. Gonzales, who walked three and struck out six in the game, saw his record drop to 1-2 with the loss.
Jenifer Langosch is a reporter for MLB.com. Read her blog, By Gosh, It's Langosch, and follow her on Twitter @LangoschMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.