ST. LOUIS -- Triple-A first baseman Matt Adams, who was almost certain to be a September callup, underwent season-ending surgery to remove bone spurs in his right elbow on Tuesday.
The news is discouraging for the Cardinals, who could have added Adams back onto the big league team when rosters expand on Sept. 1. Though Adams likely would have made few starts during the season's final month, he would have been another left-handed power bat available off the bench.
Adams' right elbow first began to bother him in late April, though he played through the discomfort and even earned a callup to the Majors in May. The discomfort flared up again in late June, prompting the Cardinals to place Adams on the Minor League disabled list.
When he sought a doctor's opinion in July, Adams was told that as long as he could tolerate the pain, he could finish the season without risking additional damage to his elbow. The hope was that Adams could then address the issue with a procedure during the offseason.
That diagnosis turned out to be too optimistic.
"We tried to manage through it, but it was affecting him in a negative way and he felt it was time," general manager John Mozeliak said. "It hurt when he would swing, not every swing, but it got to a point where he was no longer comfortable. Rather than fight through it, we thought it made sense to have the surgery now so that he would have a normal offseason."
Mozeliak said Adams is expected to be able to swing a bat again in about four to six weeks.
During a 27-game stint with the Cardinals this year, Adams hit .244. In the 22 Triple-A games he played after returning from the DL, Adams posted a .284 average, five homers and 14 RBIs. He last played on Friday. In all, Adams hit .329 with 22 doubles, 18 homers and 50 RBIs in 67 Triple-A games.
Adams is currently ranked by MLB.com as the Cardinals' seventh-best prospect and baseball's third-best prospect at first base.