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Adams starts at first base as Craig gets breather

Adams starts at first base as Craig gets breather

Adams starts at first base as Craig gets breather

ST. LOUIS -- After posting a lineup that featured Allen Craig batting third and playing first base again, Cardinals manager Mike Matheny later decided that Wednesday would be an ideal day to instead start Matt Adams.

With a desire to keep Adams sharp and no interest in starting him against a lefty on Thursday, Matheny removed Craig from the lineup so that Adams could make his first start of the four-game series. The start comes one day after Adams sealed the Cardinals' 5-1 win over the Dodgers with a two-run, pinch-hit homer.

"We have to get creative at times to figure out how to get Matt into the game," Matheny said. "[Tuesday] night, obviously, he came in and made an impact. The only way we're going to be able to keep him doing that sort of thing is to keep him relatively active."

The pinch-hit blast was the third of the season for Adams, who is 10-for-28 off the bench. He is the first Cardinal since Ryan Ludwick in 2007 to hit three pinch-hit homers in a season. The last one to hit four was Carl Sawatski in 1961.

"Some players just have an ability to come off the bench and be a force," Matheny said. "I don't want to start suggesting that could be his long-term role, because I think he could be an everyday player. But you always worry how a young player can come in and be effective in a part-time role if they've never played it before."

Matheny also emphasized that the lineup switch was not to suggest that Craig is bothered by any physical issue. Craig has started 107 of the team's first 112 games.

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.

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