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Cardinals call up Triple-A first baseman Xavier Scruggs for possible Matt Adams platoon

Sep 4, 2014, 12:50 PM EDT

Xavier Scruggs Cardinals Getty Images

Initially the Cardinals were going to keep their Triple-A team together for the Pacific Coast League playoffs, but with first baseman Matt Adams slumping they’ve decided to call up Memphis first baseman Xavier Scruggs.

Scruggs will be making his big-league debut at age 26 after hitting .286 with 21 homers and an .864 OPS in 135 games at Triple-A. He has similarly good but not great numbers in past seasons and he’s too old to really be considered a prospect, but Scruggs has done particularly well versus left-handed pitching and could be used in a platoon with the left-handed-hitting Adams.

Scruggs, a right-handed hitter, batted .350 with a 1.088 OPS off lefties at Triple-A. By comparison Adams has hit just .213 off lefties in three seasons for the Cardinals.

  1. spudchukar - Sep 4, 2014 at 1:00 PM

    Not sure what has been up with Matt Adams the past 10 days or so, but perhaps the threat of platooning might shake him up. He had been the exemplar of consistency in all phases of the game until his recent plunge. To be fair, he actually looked better on Wednesday, with a hit and a couple of nice plays defensively.

    Those who don’t see him everyday do not recognize how complete a player he is. His size and shape would suggest otherwise, but he should be in the Gold Glove conversation at first, is faster than one might believe, has base running instincts, and isn’t just a slugger.

    That said, he hasn’t been himself recently, and either rest or a mental adjustment may be in order. And Scruggs has been hot in August.

    • SocraticGadfly - Sep 4, 2014 at 1:09 PM

      Agreed on all counts, including your note of his fielding. I like the move for both purposes of platooning and a right-handed pinch-hitter bat.

      Now, how to officially find roster space?

      Scruggs’ arrival means the Cardinals will have to make two 40-man roster moves today. Tonight’s starter Michael Wacha must be added to the 40-man roster and removed from the 60-day disabled list. The Cardinals started the day with 39 players on the 40-man roster, so the spot was open for Wacha.

      Once the Cardinals reach the 40-man limit on the roster they can then — and only then with a full roster — move another player to the 60-day disabled list to free a spot for Scruggs. The Memphis first baseman is not on the 40-man roster, though he did come to spring training as a non-roster invitee and the Cardinals did stash him on an upper-level roster last season to protect him from the minor-league portion of the Rule 5 draft.

      Umm, Justin Masterson? Stick out some body part so I can give it a 60-day whack.

      • spudchukar - Sep 4, 2014 at 1:43 PM

        Good points on the roster issue. As for Masterson, his chance of seeing playing time will be for mop up duty only in 2014. He seems to be well liked, and has a fairly impressive resume, but he is a mess now and cannot see any meaningful playing time.

      • SocraticGadfly - Sep 4, 2014 at 1:46 PM

        I forgot Sugar Shane is just on the 15-day DL. They can move him to the 60-day DL.

        That said, Justin, stick out some body part for me to whack anyway. Piscotty wants to come up, too.

      • ud1951 - Sep 4, 2014 at 1:47 PM

        They have Keith Butler still on the 40 man on the 15 DL despite TJ surgery earlier this season and Shane Robinson had surgery on his shoulder last week, so either could be moved to the 60 day DL, my guess is Butler, but neither figures to be back with the team next year so they could be DFA’d or outrighted off the 40 man to make room.

        This also means they could add another name from AAA not on the 40 man if they so choose.

      • SocraticGadfly - Sep 4, 2014 at 2:18 PM

        Yeah, Butler on the 40-man, they could call up Piscotty with him, and kneecap Masterson for somebody else!

      • 78mu - Sep 4, 2014 at 4:04 PM

        Kozma used to be good to release when you needed a spot but with Ellis hurt he’s probably safe.

        Unless Masterson has mastered the pitching-from-the-stretch-for-the-whole-game thing he’s probably a good candidate for the 60 day list. And he probably is really hurt too.

    • stex52 - Sep 4, 2014 at 1:10 PM

      Part of the problem is he hasn’t been much of a slugger this year. He projects for 15 HR, and in fact most of his power hitting this year came either right at the start or right when he came off the DL after the All-Star break.

      His average has stayed pretty high, but the OBP is never that good because he doesn’t take walks. Power is way down this year and the platoon splits are a big problem. I am sorry to say this, because I follow the Cards right after the Astros. But I think most Cards fans I talk to tend to overrate his prospects.

      • spudchukar - Sep 4, 2014 at 1:15 PM

        Your analysis is valid, but he has carried the Cards at times. And while you are correct about his OBP, he has walked more lately, which might be part of his recent slump. And while his HR production isn’t what one would like, his ability to hit to all fields makes him tough to pitch to. He still can be susceptible to breaking balls down and in, but he is a bright guy who is still learning, and in his first full season, is way ahead of the curve compared to most other young hitters, and his power development is most likely on the horizon.

      • Carl Hancock - Sep 4, 2014 at 1:57 PM

        His power has been sapped due to the defensive shift. Although he’s been one of the best, if not the best, players at beating the shift this year it’s resulted in sacrificing his power. Although it has also allowed him to hit 5 triples which is 5 more than I ever would have expected him to hit given his build. Hopefully he can work on hitting for power to all fields. Otherwise the shift is going to continue to impact his offense for years to come.

      • bfunk1978 - Sep 4, 2014 at 2:18 PM

        @Carl Hancock, I didn’t realize that you should shift guys vertically. Maybe people playing the Giants in the early part of the century should have done that for Bonds.

    • stlouis1baseball - Sep 4, 2014 at 1:34 PM

      Well stated Spud. I agree 100%.

    • ud1951 - Sep 4, 2014 at 1:50 PM

      Also, I will need to see it to believe it that Matheny actually writes Scruggs name on the line up card prior to the Cards clinching the division. It appears more likely to me that he would get the occasional pinch hitting appearance than anything resembling regular playing time or even a platoon with Adams.

      • bfunk1978 - Sep 4, 2014 at 2:20 PM

        With Mike Matheny, I think you’ve pretty well nailed it down. He’s gonna ask Matt how he feels, and whether he’s OK or not he’ll say “hey I’m fine I can play” and Mike will dutifully write his name in. Scheduled days off are for Wong and Taveras only.

      • 78mu - Sep 4, 2014 at 4:06 PM

        Matheny still writes Craig’s name in the lineup and Oquendo has to change it before the umpires get it.

      • okwhitefalcon - Sep 4, 2014 at 5:34 PM

        Scruggs is starting tonight…

      • ud1951 - Sep 6, 2014 at 1:15 PM

        The article and my comment was posted prior to the article stating that Adams had an oblique strain. After that article there was another that quoted the GM as saying they would not have called him up had Adams not been hurt. Now I suspect Adams is way more hurt than they are letting on.

  2. okwhitefalcon - Sep 4, 2014 at 1:18 PM

    I highly doubt their will be a true platoon going down the stretch but who know at this point.

    I do like the way the Cards are utilizing their 40 man though, it’s all about winning at the big league level as it should be.

  3. stlouis1baseball - Sep 4, 2014 at 1:37 PM

    While agree with Spuds’ assessment…I will admit this comes as surprise to me.

  4. timmons94 - Sep 4, 2014 at 3:40 PM

    Are there a bigger collection of d bags in sports than the cardinals ???? Matheny, fat boy behind the plate. Wainwright, etc. what a total chicken u know what move yesterday .. Karma catches up to

    • 78mu - Sep 4, 2014 at 4:07 PM

      To answer your question, Yes!

      Whatever team of d bags you support.

    • stlouis1baseball - Sep 4, 2014 at 4:19 PM

      That “fat boy” behind the plate just scored from 2nd on a slow roller yesterday.
      Whether you would admit it or not…you would give your left testicle to have him behind the plate.
      Not sure what you are referring to in the rest of your drivel. If you are talking about plunking two Cardinals…then yeah. It was a total chicken s h i t move by the Pirates.
      Karma will get that ass yo’! Better be careful.

      • Paper Lions - Sep 4, 2014 at 5:36 PM

        Obvious Pirate fan pissed at being swept. He’s referring to Miller throwing behind McCutchen yesterday….while he’s conveniently ignoring the fact that his team hits more batters every year than any other team.

        While teams can say, “we don’t hit guys on purpose, we just pitch inside a lot”, at some point other teams get tired of getting hit as a result and might decide to start pitching inside a lot as well.

      • stlouis1baseball - Sep 4, 2014 at 5:54 PM

        I am with you. If memory serves…didn’t they drill two Cardinals? People are idiots. You don’t like being hit/thrown behind…don’t drill people. Pretty simple.

    • SocraticGadfly - Sep 4, 2014 at 4:32 PM

      A walk-off base hit is a chickensh!t move? OK.

    • 5thliner - Sep 4, 2014 at 4:38 PM

      Would Karma have anything to do with the Pirates leading the league in hitting batters and then Mccutchen getting hit in retaliation? The guy hates his own team.

      • spudchukar - Sep 4, 2014 at 5:34 PM

        This point should be emphasized. The Pirates not only lead the league in HBP, they are blowing away the competition. Plus, they lead the league last year. Any retaliation they receive, they have coming.

      • stlouis1baseball - Sep 4, 2014 at 5:50 PM

        Lol! Valid point 5th. I would only change your post to reflect that McCutchen wasn’t hit. He was thrown behind.

      • gostlcards5 - Sep 4, 2014 at 6:10 PM

        Well, his DL stint came right after he got drilled in the back.

    • beepbeepbeeplgb - Sep 4, 2014 at 5:28 PM

      anyone who says waino is a dbag doesn’t have soul. everyone knows he’s a great athlete and an even better individual. get a life. sorry your team peaked last year and will probably go another few decades before making it to the playoffs again.

    • stlouis1baseball - Sep 4, 2014 at 5:52 PM

      Only a miserable human being would call Wainwright a d-bag. The dude is one of the nicest, most respected players in the league. You Sir…are an idiot.

      • gostlcards5 - Sep 4, 2014 at 6:10 PM

        Can’t ditto that enough…

  5. cincinata - Sep 4, 2014 at 7:33 PM

    I really hate to say this, but: I have to side with the Cards fans. I saw Cutch get it in the back and it hurt him and the team even up to today. However, the cards didn’t do that. He obviously was thrown at but not hit by Miller. That was a warning shot because the Pirates hit Holiday. I didn’t know they also hit another guy. The Pirates do hit a lot of batters. If it is because they pitch inside, then that is still NOT OK. As a famous HOF pitcher once said, if you don’t know how to pitch inside, then don’t do it. Sorry, but I am on the redbirds side on this one. At least Miller didn’t hit Cutch.

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