ST. LOUIS (KMOV.com) -- Matt Adams has been a first baseman for the Cardinals since 2012. He has played 363 games at first base with a fielding percentage of .992.
So heads were tilted a little when Adams was taking fly balls on the practice fields during spring training. Turns out, he showed potential in the outfield; because he eventually found himself there during a couple of spring training games.
Tuesday, he did it for real.
Cardinals manager Mike Matheny put Adams in to pinch hit for Wainwright in the bottom of the fifth inning, planning to end his deployment there. However, the plan shifted when Stephen Piscotty took a beating around the bases, eventually leaving the game with a head contusion. For the top of the sixth inning, Randal Grichuk moved to right field. Adams trotted out to left.
“The ball definitely finds you out there,” Adams said with a chuckle.
Within his first inning, the ball found Adams and Adams found the ball --- twice. Then, in the seventh inning, Adams put Kyle Schwarber away for the third out as he battled the wind.
“I was proud of him,” Adam Wainwright said. “It seems easy to the fan, but those big-league pop-ups are not easy. That last [fly ball] was slicing pretty good because it was pretty windy out there today.”
Matheny didn’t hesitate to pull the trigger on Adams once Piscotty went down to the clubhouse for evaluations. Despite a lack of experience in the outfield, the former first baseman has inspired trust in the manager, even midway through a game against the class of the National League.
“Hopefully he continues to improve out there, to where in tight situations, we’re good with him,” Matheny said. “Like expected, he didn’t get any action all spring. And we throw him out there in the game, and the ball finds him. He did a good job, he put the ball in the glove.”
Adams almost had a night at the plate as well. In the bottom of the seventh inning, he smacked a ball to deep center field, and looked to tie the game. Cubs center fielder Albert Almora leapt up to nab it just is it crossed the wall, preserving Chicago’s 2-1 lead.
“After you see that home run brought back, you want to see that at-bat again,” Matheny said.
“You’ve got to find a spot for that bat because he’s such a great hitter,” Wainwright added. “Their center fielder made a great play or we’d have a tied game.”
Adams appears to have solidified himself as outfield depth in addition to backup first baseman. He and Jose Martinez are opposite-handed compliments to one another, offering similar services from either side of the plate. There’s still work to be done to get Adams up to speed on all the outfield intricacies, but for a first day on the job, he seemed satisfied.
“I felt pretty good there,” he said. “I just wish the team could’ve pulled [a win] out.”