Martinez to honor Taveras with No. 18

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Tuesday, December 9, 2014

St. Louis Cardinals right-hander Carlos Martinez will wear No. 18 next season to honor his late friend and former teammate Oscar Taveras, who died in a car accident in October.

Martinez had asked the Cardinals to switch from the No. 44 he has worn to Taveras' number and received permission Monday. According to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, it's possible he will keep the number for the rest of his career as he has requested.

"We'll let him honor his friend," general manager John Mozeliak told reporters Monday from the winter meetings in San Diego.

Taveras wore No. 18 after his call-up to the majors last season and hit .239 with three homers and 22 RBIs in 80 games. The 22-year-old outfielder died along with his 18-year-old girlfriend when his 2014 Chevy Camaro ran off the road Oct. 26 in his native Dominican Republic. Toxicology reports showed Taveras had a blood-alcohol level five times the country's legal limit when he lost control of his car.

The 23-year-old Martinez was 2-4 with a 4.03 ERA last season, his second with the Cardinals.

Information from The Associated Press is included in this report.