Southpaws remain an issue for Adams at the plate

Southpaws remain an issue for Adams at the plate

ST. LOUIS -- The sample size remains small and the opportunities scarce, but the early returns on Matt Adams' chances to hit left-handed pitchers haven't generated any evidence that results this year will be different than last.

Questions about Adams' ability to hit lefties, against whom he batted .190/.231/.298 with three homers in 121 at-bats last year, led the Cardinals to pursue Mark Reynolds as a right-handed-hitting complement. Nevertheless, the Cardinals opened the season wanting to give Adams opportunities, as it's the only way to evaluate his potential as a long-term everyday player.

With a pair of strikeouts against Cole Hamels in Monday's 4-1 loss to the Phillies, Adams fell to 0-for-8 with five strikeouts and a walk against lefties this year. He's started two of the three games in which the Cardinals have drawn a left-handed opponent.

"We're giving Matt a chance to keep working and finding something positive to come from some left-handed at-bats. But right now they're hard to come by," manager Mike Matheny said. "Once again, we're not throwing some shabby lefties at him either. He's seeing some tough ones. I know that's frustrating for him."

Before Hamels, Adams' other start against a lefty came at Wrigley Field, with Jon Lester as the opponent.

While Matheny used Reynolds to plug a hole in right field on Monday, Reynolds is in line for increased exposure at first if Adams doesn't find the necessary traction. That's not to say, though, that the Cardinals are ready to yank away opportunities from Adams just yet, as they are cognizant he hasn't had enough to warrant any conclusions being drawn.

"You have to give him a chance to go out there and do it, and then we make adjustments as we go," Matheny said. "Depending on what those at-bats look like … and right now Matt's in a tough spot and is going to have to keep working and figure out how to get it done when he has the opportunities."

Jenifer Langosch is a reporter for MLB.com. Read her blog, By Gosh, It's Langosch, follow her on Twitter @LangoschMLB and like her Facebook page Jenifer Langosch for Cardinals.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.