Per Fox Sports Midwest’s Jim Hayes, St. Louis Cardinals first baseman Matt Adams is just about ready to head out on a minor-league rehab assignment.
Per Matheny: Matt Adams could go out on rehab assignment as soon as tomorrow. #STLCards
— Jim Hayes (@TheCatOnFox) June 8, 2014
Since position player rehab stints generally last just a few days, especially for a player like Adams who has missed just a couple of weeks with calf soreness, this means that the Cardinals are still going to have to confront the issue of which player to subtract from their 25-man roster, and after that decide how to evenly distribute playing time.
The most obvious candidate for demotion would be 22-year-old center fielder Randal Grichuk. While Grichuk is viewed as the center fielder of the future, he’s only gotten four starts in nine days since being recalled from Triple-A. When he’s gotten in, he hasn’t exactly lit the world on fire, going 3-for-17 (.176) since his return, though he did hit his first big-league home run on Saturday. Ultimately, if Mike Matheny is going to give Peter Bourjos and Jon Jay starts instead of Grichuk, it’s not in Grichuk’s best interest to be on the major-league club.
The Cardinals will also have to face a playing time conundrum if Grichuk is the man to go down. Oscar Taveras has stepped into the starting right fielder job in Adams’ absence, and while he’s only gone 6-for-29 (.207) since coming up, it would be a bit of a PR nightmare to return the ultra-hyped prospect to Triple-A just two weeks after his initial callup. On the other hand, Allen Craig needs to play every day, and the only positions he fits at are first base and right field.
The most likely solution to this problem is to get Adams periodic starts at first against righthanded pitchers while returning him to the reserve role that he filled last year. He could be the Cardinals’ top pinch hitter and start when necessary, but wouldn’t be an everyday player. While he’s been great and hit .325 to start the year, his failure against lefthanded pitching makes this the most logical move. It should be interesting to see if this is the road the Cards go down to deal with the logjam.