Adams prepared when opportunities arise

PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. -- Though the Cardinals' roster situation doesn't necessarily work in his favor, first baseman Matt Adams arrived in camp having done all he could to position himself for success.

His dedication to a revised workout program this winter helped Adams slim down. His decision to have a minor procedure late last summer eliminated the right elbow discomfort that he dealt with for much of the 2012 season. And while it's still way too early in the spring to jump to conclusions, Adams has started out strong.

With another two hard-hit singles in four at-bats on Wednesday, Adams moves to 5-for-10 in Grapefruit League play. The soreness in his left knee that kept him out for two games appears to be a non-issue now.

"The timing, everything feels good," said Adams, who served as the team's designated hitter against the Mets in the team's 12-4 win. "Basically when you miss days, it's the timing. The swing stays with you, but the timing kind of goes away. But that felt good the past two days."

Adams has resumed taking ground balls, which would suggest that he's close to being able to play the field again, too.

Regardless of what Adams does this spring, though, he may not be able to crack a roster that is already saturated with first basemen. Allen Craig will start at that spot for the Cardinals, and the team will carry Matt Carpenter and Ty Wigginton on the bench as backups. With the Cardinals having to also keep a backup catcher, middle infielder and center fielder, it's hard to see a fit for Adams.

If the roster composition didn't work against him, Adams would seemingly be ready for the jump. He hit his way through Triple-A pitching last season, finishing with a .329 average, 22 doubles, 18 homers and 50 RBIs in 67 games. That's not to say, though, that Adams doesn't see room for improvement, even at that level.

"There's stuff that I need to get better at: plate discipline -- just making sure I'm swinging at strikes -- and my defense has to get better to be a starter in the big leagues," Adams said. "I've got some things to work on, but wherever they put me, I'll be ready."