ATLANTA (AP) — Matt Adams was eager to hit, looking for a batting cage as soon as he unpacked his bag at his new locker in the Atlanta Braves’ clubhouse.
One day after he was acquired from St. Louis, Adams made his Braves debut Sunday against Washington, starting at first base and hitting fifth.
Adams takes over for Freddie Freeman, sidelined for about 10 weeks with a broken left wrist sustained Wednesday when hit by a pitch from Toronto’s Aaron Loup.
Adams started only two games at first base and five in left field this season as the Cardinals made Matt Carpenter their starter at first base.
“I’m not trying to come in here and be Freddie,” Adams said. “That’s not who I am. I’ve just got to be myself and go out there and play. I’m just excited to get the opportunity and I’m going to try to run with it.”
Adams was hitting .292 with one homer and seven RBIs with St. Louis. His only homer came at Atlanta’s SunTrust Park on May 6 against Julio Teheran. The park’s short right-field fence, 325 feet at the foul pole, is attractive to left-handed hitters like Adams.
“I’ve got to do a good job of just staying gap to gap and not trying to get too pull-happy,” he said. “Just stick with my game the way I’ve been doing and I think things will fall in place.”
Atlanta’s initial choice to fill in at first base was utility infielder Jace Peterson. The addition of Adams, acquired for minor league infielder Juan Yepez, gives the Braves a more established option to provide protection for cleanup hitter Matt Kemp.
The 28-year-old Adams has a .271 career average with 56 homers and 271 RBIs. As part of the deal, St. Louis agreed to pay Atlanta $900,000 on Sept. 1 to cover a portion of Adams’ $2.8 million salary.
“He’s a proven hitter in this league and he’s had some good years over in St. Louis,” Kemp said. “He’s got clutch hitting under his belt and he’s played on a really good team so he knows how to win.”
Atlanta agreed to a minor league contract with James Loney before trading for Adams. Kemp said the addition of Adams shows the Braves are “willing to do whatever it takes to win.”
The Braves optioned infielder John Camargo to Triple-A Gwinnett to clear a roster spot for Adams.
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