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Adams makes debut with Berkman on the mend

Posted Tuesday, May 22, 2012, at 8:53 AM


The Cardinals suffered another major loss on Saturday night when Lance Berkman tore the meniscus in his right knee.

After a couple of scary days for the team, the belief is that the injury does not involve his ACL which is a much more serious injury from which to recover. He's seeking a second opinion in Colorado this week and seems to be more concerned than the team about his injuries.

As a result of the injury, the Cardinals called up the much anticipated first base prospect, Matt Adams. While some questioned his readiness, at this point he seems to be doing well.

Only 2-for-8 since making the move, he has put together good quality at bats showing a fair bit of patience for a young player. He's had a number of hard hit balls that could have just as easily been hits. He seems to see the ball well and, so far, doesn't seem intimidated by big league pitching.

That could easily change, of course, but for the time being I think he's heading in the right direction.

Defensively, we've seen a couple of good grabs, but Adams hasn't been really tested in the field to date. That will come with time.

When Allen Craig returns, he will get some starts at first base, but Mozeliak has made it clear that if Adams is going to be in St. Louis, he will be getting ample play time.

The last thing this organization wants is for him to be up in St. Louis keeping the bench warm when he could be in Memphis continuing to develop as a player.

Develop is something he's done a fine job of so far.

Adams has only played in AAA Memphis for about six weeks, but in those six weeks he has hit .340/.375/.603 with nine homeruns, 10 doubles, 20 runs scored and 27 RBIs.

He's struck out 27 times in 152 at-bats, or about 18 percent of the time. That's not bad at all.

In 2011, in 115 games (47 LESS than an MLB season), he hit .300 with 32 homers, 101 RBIs and 23 doubles. Wow.

I know many consider him the long-term replacement at first base, but expecting him to come in and hit four homeruns this week and bat .400 is unrealistic. I'm not saying he won't. I'm just saying be prepared to give him time to make the adjustment because this is much earlier than he or the organization expected to see him in St. Louis.

A few things to know about Adams:

1. He can hit.

2. When he hits, he hits hard.

3. When he hits hard, baseballs get destroyed.

Those are the three rules of Matt Adams. When he is on, you will love to watch him.

While everyone should be excited to see him play, it's important not to understate the cost of losing Berkman to injury. He is expected, according to Monday's information, to be out a minimum of 6-8 weeks. While Berkman didn't get off to as hot of a start as he did in 2011, not having the threat of him in the lineup is something that will be felt. If Adams can come through and replace that threat in the lineup, the team will be fine while they wait for Berkman to get healthy and make his way back to the stadium.

One thing is for sure, with three hitters who were batting over .300 on the DL (Allen Craig, Jon Jay, Lance Berkman), other guys are going to have to step up soon for this team to stay in the hunt. Tyler Greene gave a good example of that Monday night with his 8th inning homerun off of a 100.5 mph fastball.

As much as I hate to use the word, guys need to be clutch to get through this and the pitching staff is going ot have to pick up the slack.


To submit a question for the Balls & Strikes Mailbag, either e-mail cnoles@dailystatesman.com, call (573)624-4545, or fill out the form at dailystatesman.com/blogs/coreynoles/

Follow him on Twitter @coreynoles

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Corey Noles, staff writer for The Daily Statesman and Editor of The North Stoddard Countian, is the author of a regular baseball/St. Louis Cardinals column and also uses his blog to sound off on various happenings in sports. He also operates a weekly baseball mailbag column.

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