Matt Adams and the St. Louis Cardinals realized their worst fear Friday when it was determined that Adams suffered a complete tear of his right quadriceps.
Adams, the first baseman, will be sidelined four months, meaning he would be unable to return until late in the regular season or the postseason. He underwent surgery Friday, a procedure performed by orthopedic specialist Dr. David King.
“Everything went well,” Cardinals General Manager John Mozeliak said. “I guess the news of this was it was a complete tear. In terms of thinking about it from a recovery standpoint, you’re probably looking at a longer period than maybe we had hoped. We’ll just see. We’ll see how the rehab goes. We’re not ruling anything out today, but based on what I’ve been told, it’s probably going to be longer rather than shorter.
“Our hope is that he has a full and complete recovery, and obviously, we expect spring training to be just normal. In terms of if we’re able to have him available for late September or if we’re playing in late October, time will tell.”
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Adams suffered the injury Tuesday when he lined a shot off the right-field against the Arizona Diamondbacks. He pulled up on the way to second and left the game in discomfort.
Mozeliak said the Cardinals will not initially explore a trade, which for the time being means they are not interested in St. Louisan Ryan Howard of the Philadelphia Phillies. Mark Reynolds, acquired during the offseason, is expected to get most of Adams’ at-bats. Reynolds began Friday hitting .253 with three home runs and 13 RBIs in 40 games.
Reynolds, who had 35 strikeouts in 99 at-bats, was hitting .265 with one homer and eight RBIs against right-handed pitching.
“The right approach right now is just to be patient and see how we play and see how things fit in,” Mozeliak said. “Obviously, when you think about the addition of Reynolds, originally it was all about strengthening the bench. But frankly, with the way guys have been playing in terms of our outfield, not everybody can play anyway every night. That (bench) is inherently stronger.”
Mozeliak said the Cardinals have plenty of in-house options to back up Reynolds, including infielders Pete Kozma and catchers Tony Cruz and Yadier Molina. Mozeliak said those possibilities would be sufficient, however, for only a game.
“If it became more significant, we would have to rethink that,” Mozeliak said.
The Cardinals also have minor-league protection at Class AAA Memphis in Xavier Scruggs and Dan Johnson, signed in the first week of May.
“I think we do have some internal options, but Johnson might fit the profile of a bench player better than anyone right now,” Mozeliak said. “It’s nice that we have him and we’ll just see how things unfold over the next few weeks.”
Mozeliak also said one of the team’s top prospects, right fielder Stephen Piscotty, could make a smooth transition to playing first base since he played third base at Stanford.
“But again, I don’t think we’re desperate for coverage at first,” Mozeliak said. “We have plenty of time. Even someone like Xavier Scruggs, whose numbers are relatively comparable to Piscotty’s, knows how to play first.”
Regarding Howard, Mozeliak didn’t seem excited about the urgency to acquire him. Howard began Friday hitting .256 with 10 home runs and 24 RBIs in 44 games. Howard can block trades to 20 teams, including the Cardinals. He is signed through 2017 and is earning $25 million this season, a salary the Phillies probably would have to absorb to make a trade work.
Howard is owed $25 million next year and has a club option for $23 million in 2017.
“I’m not going to get into rumors or potential players that we may or may not have interest in,” Mozeliak said. “Right now, I think we have a good club. Let’s just see how things play out. Injuries sometimes make you change directions on how you have to put a team out there, but Mark Reynolds was signed for a reason. We’re going to give him every opportunity.”
Jay comes back
Center fielder Jon Jay rejoined the active list Friday, taking the roster spot created Thursday when the Cardinals optioned reliever Miguel Socolovich to Memphis.
Jay, who had been on the disabled list with tendinitis in his left wrist, was 0-for-10 in three minor-league rehabilitation games with low-Class A Peoria.
“It’s nice to go down there and be able to get some work done and see the young kids,” Jay said. “It’s a big reminder of how this all works. (The wrist) is good; it’s feeling good. I was able to test it out and it was good to be down there for three days. I was able to get a lot of work in and I’m excited to be back here now. I felt fine. I was pleased with how everything went.”
Jay underwent surgery on the wrist in the offseason, but pain remained and he had just two doubles and no home runs in 30 games and 101 at-bats, hitting a scant .248.
“I heard (he had) some good at-bats, some hard outs,” Cardinals manager Mike Matheny said of Jay’s rehab. “He was taking some good swings. As long as he feels good, we know he’s going to have a good chance. ... He’s got to stay the course. It seems like his range of motion has really improved with this little bit of rest. Hopefully, it’s something he can build on.”
Jay was not in the lineup Friday against the Los Angeles Dodgers, as Mike Matheny went with Randal Grichuk in left, Peter Bourjos in center and Jason Heyward in right.
“You look at that outfield, it’s a pretty good defensive outfield,” Matheny said, adding that the Cardinals will “still allow Jon to get into a good rhythm.”
Jay, 30, said he felt like an old man in the Midwest League.
“Definitely,” he said. “They’re kids. It was great to be around them. The group of guys down there has a lot of talent. They were asking questions and wanted to know all the right things. It was great to be able to go down there and share those things with them for a couple of days. I took it as a good sign, even though I am a little older.”
Socolovich, a right-hander, was 2-0 with a 1.17 ERA in seven games and 7 2/3 innings. His demotion gives the Cardinals a 12-man pitching staff.
“Socolovich just hasn’t been able to pitch,” Matheny said. “We haven’t used him. It’s been way too many days. So instead of just keeping him here and not getting the work, we’ll send him out and see how things go. If we start beating up our bullpen, we can always make a move to get another (pitcher) back.”
Left fielder Matt Holliday was fine Thursday, but was sick Friday and was not in the lineup.
“Fever and flulike stuff,” Matheny said. “We had to get him out today. He’ll be away from everybody.”
Asked whether Holliday could pinch-hit, Matheny inadvertently said: “We’re waiting to see where the doctors allow that he can be. There’s a chance he could be in the bowels of the stadium waiting for an opportunity.”
Holliday is batting .320 with a .433 on-base percentage. He has reached base safely in his first 43 games of the season, a Cardinals and National League record.