Burly Matt Adams, traded by the Nationals to the St. Louis Cardinals on Tuesday, has something in common with Bryce Harper besides hitting from the left side of the plate. Both spent time as catchers during their amateur days.
Adams was a catcher early in his college career at Slippery Rock, a Division II program near Pittsburgh. Adams switched to first base at Slippery Rock and was drafted by the Cardinals in 2010 in the 23rd round.
His college coach, Jeff Messer, told The Washington Times in March that Adams could have held his own as an emergency catcher in the majors.
Doug Sankey, Adams’ coach at Philipsburg-Osceola High School in Pennsylvania, had good early memories of Adams.
“We brought him up from the JV and he had a game-winning hit as a freshman,” Sankey told The Times.
Adams signed a one-year deal with the Nationals before this season. He hit .257 with 18 homers in just 249 at-bats this year.
General manager Mike Rizzo said it was hard to part with Murphy and Adams.
“One of the toughest days I have had as a general manager,” Rizzo said Wednesday. “Those are tough conversations to have with great players. Adams (was) an awesome new arrival.”
Rizzo stood up for Martinez, the rookie manager.
“He is a great manager. The players love playing for him,” Rizzo said. “This is far from a manager’s problem.”