Matt Adams is in the best shape of his life

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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.

Aaron Judge out of Yankees starting lineup for finale after No. 62

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ARLINGTON, Texas — Yankees slugger Aaron Judge wasn’t in the starting lineup for New York’s regular-season finale, a day after his 62nd home run that broke Roger Maris’ 61-year-old American League single-season record.

When Judge homered in the first inning Tuesday night, in the second game of a doubleheader against the Texas Rangers, it was his 55th consecutive game. He has played in 157 games overall for the AL East champions.

With the first-round bye in the playoffs, the Yankees won’t open postseason play until the AL Division Series starts next Tuesday.

Even though Judge had indicated that he hoped to play Wednesday, manager Aaron Boone said after Tuesday night’s game that they would have a conversation and see what made the most sense.

“Short conversation,” Boone said before Wednesday’s game, adding that he was “pretty set on probably giving him the day today.”

Asked if there was a scenario in which Judge would pinch hit, Boone responded, “I hope not.”

Judge went into the final day of the regular season batting .311, trailing American League batting average leader Minnesota’s Luis Arraez, who was hitting .315. Judge was a wide leader in the other Triple Crown categories, with his 62 homers and 131 RBIs.

Boone said that “probably the one temptation” to play Judge had been the long shot chance the slugger had to become the first AL Triple Crown winner since Detroit’s Miguel Cabrera in 2012.