The Cardinals have claimed outfielder Rafael Ortega off waivers from the Rangers, according to MLB.com's Jenifer Langosch (on Twitter). Chris Cotillo of MLB Daily Dish first tweeted that Ortega had been claimed by an unknown team. This is the second time Ortega has been claimed on waivers this offseason, as the Rangers initially claimed him from the Rockies back in late November.
Ortega entered the 2013 campaign ranked 15th among Rockies prospects, according to Baseball America, who called him a true center fielder with a plus, accurate arm and plus speed. BA noted that he needs to be careful not to fall in love with swinging for the fences after a home run, though he does have surprising pop for someone with a 5'11", 160-pound frame.
The 22-year-old Ortega saw his season cut short by injuries in 2013, and he posted just a .228/.315/.297 batting line in 178 plate appearances when healthy. Ortega has three 30-steal campaigns under his belt in the minors and has already received a brief taste of the Majors, totaling six plate appearances with the Rockies in 2012.