By Kevin Reynolds, www.stlcardsnstuff.com
Cardinals’ first baseman Matt Adams showed up at the annual Winter Warm-Up event noticeably slimmer than he finished the 2013 season. Asked about the weight loss, Adams acknowledged a “six or seven” pound drop but attributed the slimmer look to a body mass — body fat vs. muscle — change more than straight weight loss.
Adams experienced a similar body mass change last offseason but looks to maintain the change throughout 2014, something he struggled to do in 2013. He identified spring training workouts as key to his new look this time around.
“Spring training is huge,” Adams said. “Down there is where you gotta’ keep the diet going and make sure you get your workouts in — and in the season as well.”
Already gearing up for spring training, Adams said he started hitting four or five times a week “right before Christmas.” The left-handed slugger indicated an emphasis on improving against left-handed pitching by facing a machine that simulates the effects of southpaws.
It should be noted, Adams did the same exercise during last year’s offseason. This year, he hopes to also add swings against live left-handed pitchers to help “see the ball out of the guy’s hand” while at the plate.
Adams enters this season as the favorite at first base, taking over for Allen Craig who likely moves to right field in the absence of Carlos Beltran. Bothered the last two seasons by elbow soreness, Matt seemed unconcerned about managing stress on the elbow as he prepares to take more at-bats in 2014.
“I think with the elbow, it was just figuring out what was causing the stress and the pain,” Adams said. “I think we got it knocked out, and now it’s just making sure we stay on top of it through spring training. Just make sure we get into the training room and really keep on top of it so the stress doesn’t come back.”
Adams did acknowledge that he and the Cardinals’ training staff are “playing around with the idea” of wearing the brace he wore on his elbow on a more regular basis, saying it doesn’t really inhibit his swing when it’s on.