With each passing day, it’s becoming a greater possibility that first baseman Matt Adams could rejoin the St. Louis Cardinals lineup this season.
Adams, sidelined by a torn right quadriceps, is regularly participating in on-the-field drills, and manager Mike Matheny doesn’t rule out a September return for the left-handed hitter. Adams hasn’t played since May 26.
“I think so,” Matheny said of a return to action for Adams, who hasn’t yet started to hit. “I’m not hearing anything contrary at this point, where initially we were. It sounds like he’s doing a great job of really busting it to push it as best he can, and his body is responding very well.”
Adams was initially ruled out for the season after undergoing surgery. He was off to a slow start at the plate, batting .243 with four homers and 20 RBIs in 43 games at the time of the injury.
If he could return, it would make for a crowded house at first base. The Cardinals already have Mark Reynolds, Stephen Piscotty and Dan Johnson getting time at first, and there are rumors they are interested in adding Milwaukee first baseman Adam Lind in a trade.
Whatever the circumstance, the return to health of Adams is seen as a bonus.
“He’s getting a little more flexibility in what he’s allowed to do, and that’s always real positive for us to see,” Matheny said. “Every one of our guys, you want to see them take steps forward, and he’s been taking some a lot faster than what I thought he would.”
Center fielder Randal Grichuk returned to the lineup after missing two games with a right groin injury. Grichuk batted seventh against Cincinnati right-hander Anthony DeSclafini.
“It feels a lot better,” Grichuk said. “I’ll continue to get treatment and see how it feels over the next few days. Hopefully, it doesn’t flare up. But right now, it looks like a full-go.”
Grichuk began Wednesday batting .281 with 17 doubles, six triples, 11 homers and 36 RBIs in 68 games. He is among the top rookie position players in the National League, along with Los Angeles’ Joc Pederson, Chicago’s Kris Bryant, San Francisco’s Matt Duffy and Arizona’s Yasmany Tomas. There also are a handful of worthy pitchers on the list.
“I see potential big things for Randal,” Matheny said. “When you just look at the skill set and what he’s got the potential to do, it’s impressive. He’s done a nice job so far, but I think there’s plenty of room to grow.”
Reliever Jordan Walden threw two-thirds of an inning Wednesday for Class AAA Memphis, allowing a hit and a walk but no runs.
Walden, sidelined by a right biceps injury, might need just one more rehab outing before rejoining the major-league bullpen.