LOS ANGELES -- It was such a perfect fit that when Matt Adams heard he was heading back to the St. Louis Cardinals, he was sure somebody was messing around with him."I thought it was all a joke at first," Adams said Wednesday afternoon from Dodger Stadium, with his No.
LOS ANGELES -- It was such a perfect fit that when Matt Adams heard he was heading back to the St. Louis Cardinals, he was sure somebody was messing around with him.
"I thought it was all a joke at first," Adams said Wednesday afternoon from Dodger Stadium, with his No. 15 Cardinals jersey hanging in the locker behind him. "I didn't know I was really coming back here."
It was not as if Adams was looking to make an exit from the Washington Nationals. He wanted to do in the nation's capital what the Cardinals are doing now: Help turn around a team with high expectations and get it back into contention.
When the Nationals were in St. Louis last week, Adams saw a determination that he wanted to emulate. Now he gets to join that inspirational squad after he was claimed off waivers on Tuesday by the organization that drafted him in 2009.
"Yeah, I made it public that I could see something special was happening from the other side," Adams said. "For me to be a part of it now is amazing. I have a lot of great relationships with a lot of guys on this team, and just being able to come in and do what they want me to do, what they ask me to do, I will be ready to do, and we'll see how it goes."
There is no guarantee of playing time for Adams. He could spell Matt Carpenter at first base here and there against right-handed pitching. He might get some time in left field now that Marcell Ozuna has gone on the disabled list. Time in right field is a possibility.
The Cardinals can certainly use his left-handed power bat off the bench. St. Louis is 23rd in baseball with a .288 slugging percentage from its pinch-hitters.
Adams knows all about being a slugger in St. Louis, hitting 56 home runs in just over 1,400 at-bats over six seasons. Over his 194 games with Atlanta and Washington, he hit 37 home runs.
"This guy has been in the organization nine years, and I think I said yesterday and said today that we were so happy getting him back," interim manager Mike Shildt said. "And then when you see him, you're even happier. It's like a homecoming. He's going to be a contributor for sure."
Adams joins a Cardinals team that is a baseball-best 16-5 in August, and he is not about to take that for granted.
"I think I'm in a good spot mentally where I'm coming in here, in this clubhouse and everybody is meshing together," Adams said. "I just want to kind of stay out of everybody's way and do my part and mesh with them. You don't want to be that guy that comes in and tries to do too much and messes up that something special they have working. I'm in a place now where I am going to be ready no matter what. I will go out there and do my best."
Doug Padilla is a contributor to MLB.com based in Los Angeles.