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Adams hopes to impress in big league stint

Adams hopes to impress in big league stint

LOS ANGELES -- Cognizant that the circumstances weren't ideal, Matt Adams joined the Cardinals at Dodger Stadium on Sunday determined to make a strong impression in his first big league opportunity. And he wasted little time.

St. Louis added Adams to both its 40-man and 25-man rosters on Sunday in response to putting first baseman Lance Berkman on the disabled list. Berkman sustained a right knee injury in Saturday's loss. Adams followed with a two-hit night in his Major League debut, hitting seventh and playing first base in the Cardinals' 6-5 loss to the Dodgers.

"Once I saw that first pitch, and once we got that first out, the nerves kind of calmed down and the competitiveness kind of came out," Adams said. "The big thing was just going up there and being aggressive."

Adams swung on the first pitch he saw from a Major League pitcher and lined Chad Billingsley's fastball up the middle for a single. He singled to center again and scored in the sixth.

"He's a pretty mature hitter for his age and experience," Cardinals manager Mike Matheny said before the game. "He has a short, powerful swing and the ability to stay within himself and not try to do too much. He has the ability to go to both fields. Power is a rare commodity and he's got some. Defensively, he does a nice job, too."

The 23-year-old Adams knew even before the phone call that he'd be leaving behind his Triple-A teammates in Las Vegas. Pulled from Memphis' game in the fourth inning on Saturday night, Adams was informed of his impending callup by manager Ron "Pop" Warner in the dugout. He then flew out Sunday morning.

Named the Cardinals' Minor League Player of the Year after a 32-homer, 101-RBI season in 2011, Adams showed little trouble adjusting to the demands of Triple-A pitching in 37 games at that level this season. He left Memphis having hit .340 with a team-high nine homers and 27 RBIs.

Adams said he found Triple-A pitchers to be less generous with fastballs -- especially in hitters' counts -- but that after a brief period of adjustment, he found little trouble dealing with offspeed offerings. Adams will strike out with regularity, and he's not going to walk all that often, but his presence in the lineup does infuse plenty of power potential.

"I've seen him for a few years now, and I felt pretty comfortable that he'd make the adjustments," Matheny said. "That's part of the maturity that we're talking about. He's going to have a learning curve here as well, but he has some great resources here with the hitting coaches to reinforce what his approach is. Then it's just going to be a test of his will to stay with it."

Though Matheny wouldn't delve into specifics on how he plans to use Adams, it's expected that Adams will play regularly. The Cardinals still have Matt Carpenter available to play first base, too, though both Adams and Carpenter hit from the left side.

"Hopefully, I can make the most of my opportunities," Adams said. "I've been swinging well, and I've felt good at the plate. I am swinging at better pitches, and I started laying off pitches down and am waiting for pitches up more."