Posted on September 2, 2016 by Bryan Zarpentine
One of the players the St. Louis Cardinals are welcoming back to the fold with rosters expanding is first baseman Matt Adams, who was activated from the DL on Friday. Adams has not played since August 9 due to a shoulder injury, and he is the first of several players the Red Birds are hoping to get back between now and the end of the season to help them secure a spot in the postseason.
Before the shoulder injury, Adams was part of a platoon at first base with Brandon Moss, playing a supporting yet important role for a St. Louis team that has had to continually deal with injuries throughout the season. Adams is hitting .249 with 12 home runs and 16 doubles this season. Before returning, Adams played in five minor league rehab games, but had just three hits in 16 at bats, including one home run and one double.
The return of Adams should help the Cardinals reduce the constant shuffling of players amongst different positions from day to day. Adams will be able to step in as the regular first baseman for St. Louis, which will be important with Moss having to spend most of his time in left field with Matt Holliday on the DL with a broken thumb. Matt Carpenter and Jedd Gyorko have helped to fill in at first base while Adams has been out, but now both can be utilized more at other positions with shortstop Aledmys Diaz also on the DL with a thumb injury.
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Carpenter in particular can be utilized at either second base or third base, allowing either Gyorko to shift from second to shortstop or Jhonny Peralta to shift from third base to shortstop in place of Diaz. Greg Garcia has been getting most of the playing time at shortstop with Diaz out, although he did not have a productive August offensively. He has also been prone to defensive mistakes at times, and so the Cardinals may want to explore other options at shortstop, which is possible without Carpenter tied to first base.
Now that Adams is back from injury in time for the stretch run, the Cardinals are hoping others will return from the DL as well. Backup catcher Brayan Pena is currently on a minor league rehab assignment and should return soon to give St. Louis another option behind the plate. Meanwhile, Holliday has had the cast removed from his broken thumb and started the rehab process in hopes of returning before the end of the season. Diaz is also on his way back and should facing live pitching soon, putting him in position to return before season’s end.
Despite all of their injuries, the Cardinals are still holding onto the second wild card in the National League, and are just a game and a half behind the St. Francisco Giants for the top wild card spot. With Adams back and a few others on their way, the Cardinals must be feeling better about their chances of locking up a wild card spot and entering to the postseason as healthy as possible.