If you’ve been visiting us over the past few years, you’ve probably noticed that the phrase “best shape of his life” has become a meme of sorts. Every winter, there are scores of reports that players — particularly ones coming off of down years — are in the “best shape” of their life. Pablo Sandoval and Kyle Schwarber are recent examples of players being hyped in this respect.
Add Cardinals first baseman Matt Adams to the list. While the exact phrase “best shape of his life” was not used, Brian Stull of WGNU 920AM in St. Louis reports that Adams lost 25 pounds during the offseason. Adams says his swing is “even stronger” and is excited for the 2017 season.
With spring training just over a month away, the 28-year-old Adams is slated to back up Matt Carpenter at first base. It would make sense if the Cardinals pursued trading Adams before the start of the regular season.
Adams finished the 2016 season hitting .249/.309/.471 with 16 home runs and 54 RBI in 327 plate appearances. He missed time during the season with back, shoulder, and wrist injuries.
Jaime Garcia has been at the center of trade talks for several days now, but on Friday night, he commanded center stage for an entirely different reason. The Braves’ southpaw went head-to-head with Dodgers’ lefty Alex Wood and mashed his first career grand slam: a two-out, 399-foot blast that cleared the wall in right field and put the Braves up 9-0 in the fifth inning.
The bases-loaded knock was the third career home run for Garcia, whose contributions at the plate have been few and far between over his nine-year track in the major leagues. Not only did the homer mark an impressive career first for the 30-year-old, but it was just the second pitcher grand slam in Braves’ history and the first since 1966.
Garcia looked almost as impressive on the mound during Friday’s series opener, issuing one run, four hits and three strikeouts through his first six innings. The Braves currently lead the Dodgers 12-1 in the top of the seventh inning.
As for whether the slam will affect negotiations between the Braves and Twins? MLB.com’s Mike Petriello put it best:
Athletics’ first baseman Ryon Healy had a scary moment during Friday’s loss to the Mets. Lucas Duda smacked a single to the first base side, where the ball took a high hop and caught Healy in the left temple. He crumpled to the ground after getting struck by the one-hopper, but was eventually able to stand and walk off the field with assistance from a trainer.
Prior to the injury, Healy went 2-for-3 at the plate with an RBI single in the first inning. He was replaced by Yonder Alonso, who finished off the rest of the night’s 7-5 loss with a walk in two plate appearances.
Following the game, manager Bob Melvin told reporters that Healy did not appear to have sustained a concussion as a result of the hit. Healy said he thinks he’ll be good to go for Saturday’s game, though a final decision likely won’t be made until tomorrow.