PITTSBURGH -- Matt Adams made Slippery Rock (Pa.) University history last season when he became the first player from that Division II baseball program to break into the Major Leagues. On Wednesday he provided another point of pride for the University by making his first career start in Pittsburgh, about 21 miles from campus.
Manager Mike Matheny intends to get Adams at least two starts a week, and he made the series finale against the Pirates one of them. Several fans wearing red shirts with Adams' No. 53 on the back arrived about two hours before first pitch to watch the first baseman take batting practice. Adams expected about 20 family members and friends to be in attendance.
"It will be nice," Adams said, "for them to see me play."
Adams, who grew up in central Pennsylvania, attended a handful of games at PNC Park during the four years he spent playing collegiately in the western part of the state. Adams has been told that Slippery Rock is planning to retire his number.
"We'll see how that process goes," he said. "It's an honor, because there are a lot of good guys who went through that program and played in the Minor Leagues and didn't get the opportunity to play in the Majors."
Although Matheny appreciates the storyline of Adams' return to Pittsburgh, inserting him into the lineup was hardly a gesture to the local folks. In six games this year (four starts), Adams is 11-for-18 with three home runs, two doubles and eight RBIs.
"There's really no secret in the fact that we have to keep him fresh and get him opportunities," Matheny said. "Especially as he's seeing the ball as well as he is right now."
Jenifer Langosch is a reporter for MLB.com. Read her blog, By Gosh, It's Langosch, and follow her on Twitter @LangoschMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.