Matt Adams’ busy week: Drive 1,500 miles, hit walk-off for Braves

Welcome back, Matt Adams: Yonder Alonso greets the new Brave Adams following his home run that put a pin in Tuesday night's exhibition game against the Miami Marlins. Curtis Compton ccompton@ajc.com
Welcome back, Matt Adams: Yonder Alonso greets the new Brave Adams following his home run that put a pin in Tuesday night's exhibition game against the Miami Marlins. Curtis Compton ccompton@ajc.com

Credit: Curtis Compton

Credit: Curtis Compton

Being Matt Adams has been an interesting, hectic thing these past four days.

Saturday: After he was told by the New York Mets he wasn’t going to make their major league roster and he opted out of his contract, he hopped in his car and drove through the day and night toward home in St. Louis, nearly 1,000 miles away.

An eight-year veteran with some verifiable thunder in his bat – three seasons of 20 or more home runs – he’s wasn’t sure where his next at-bat was coming from.

“It was the first situation I’ve been in like that, so I really didn’t know what to expect,” he said Wednesday. “But I knew I could still play this game and I could still bring experience to the table. I was leaving it in God’s hands and my faith with that, knowing that when a door closes, another will open.

“I didn’t know it was going to happen that quickly, but I was thankful that it did.”

Sunday: Arrived home around 2 a.m., by which time he already heard from the Braves, a team for which he appeared in 100 games in 2017 and bailed out for stretches while Freddie Freeman recovered from a fractured wrist. He heard they would like to rent his bat again, especially now that the National League is employing the designated hitter for this shortened season. A development almost custom-suited to the 6-3, 245-pound “Big City” Adams.

Spent part of a day with family. Great to see you. Now gotta go.

Monday: Another road trip, launched at 5:30 a.m. for the 550-mile drive from St. Louis to Atlanta. “I slept like a baby Monday night,” he said.

Tuesday: Hit a walk-off home run in an exhibition game at Truist Park against the Miami Marlins, two days before he presumably will travel with the Braves before they open Friday against the team he left less than a week earlier, the Mets. Real circle-of-life stuff, baseball version.

The suddenness of the move back to Atlanta, “didn’t catch me by surprised, but it really sparked a thing in me to want it to work out and come back here,” Adams said.

“I know this is a winning club, and that’s what I want to be a part of.”

He was part of one a season ago, as a part-timer for the Washington Nationals who chipped in 20 home runs and 56 RBIs in 333 plate appearances.

With the Braves, Adams can serve as a DH, a bat off the bench, even play a little first base if Freeman ever agrees to a day off. So effective was Adams in 2017 that when Freeman came back from the injury, he played a few games at third base to keep Adams in the lineup.

“No, I am not going to bring up that conversation (about moving to third again) with Freddie,” Adams laughed. “He’s too good over there at first base to move him.”

“I’m just showing up and doing my thing,” Adams said by way of defining his role. “However I can contribute, that’s how I want to go about this year. However I get in the lineup I’ll be happy with.”

There’s one more adjustment he needs to make to fully fit back into the Braves – that’s learning the new etiquette for celebrating big hits. He almost tripped over Ron Washington’s foot Tuesday night when the third base coach extended his leg to give Adams a socially distant toe tap as he rounded the base.

“It’s going to something to get used to with walk-offs and how we’re going to celebrate wins this year, for sure,” he said, a problem he and the Braves hope becomes common.

Other notes from Truist Park on Wednesday:

» As the Braves work to finalize their expanded 30-man roster by noon Thursday, they had a chance to further assess third baseman Johan Camargo’s hamstring injury in workouts before the second exhibition game against the Marlins.

Hamstrings are tricky things. And Braves manager Brian Snitker was noncommittal early Wednesday about Camargo’s, preferring to wait to see how he emerged from the workout before passing judgment on his availability.

» Snitker also was rather bullish on what was a quiet move by the Braves, the signing of 32-year-old right-handed starter Jhoulys Chacin. Another one-time Brave (2016), Chacin was released by Twins.

He was not good last season with Milwaukee and Boston, his combined 6.01 ERA a career worst. But the Braves have seen one veteran arm – Felix Hernandez – opt out and another – Cole Hamels – shelved with shoulder issues. That made Chacin more worth a look.

“I don’t have any doubt he could go out there and throw six innings right now,” Snitker said. “He’s a guy that can navigate a lineup and knows what he’s doing. He’s pitched in all situations. I think he’s going to be a really valuable guy for us to have during this situation we’re in. I think that’s a really, really good pickup.”