One of the area’s favorite sons, Philipsburg native Matt Adams, is heading to a new MLB home.
On Saturday, the St. Louis Cardinals’ first baseman was traded — along with cash — to the Atlanta Braves for minor league infielder Juan Yepez, a 19-year-old prospect who’s currently hitting .275 in Class A ball.
Adams is expected to join the Braves in time for Sunday’s game against the Washington Nationals.
“It’s tough to go, tough to say goodbye to all my friends here,” Adams told reporters.
But, he added, “It’s the best thing for my career. I’ll be able to join another great organization and be able to play every day. ... I can’t say enough and thank the Cardinals enough for the opportunities that they gave me and the trust they had in me. It was a great run. I’m just happy to be able to get out there every day and play.”
Adams — who’s hitting .292 this season in 48 at-bats — will help fill the void in Atlanta left by an injured Freddie Freeman, who will miss about 10 weeks with a broken wrist. Freeman was leading the majors in slugging percentage (.748) when he was hurt.
The Philipsburg-Osceola grad should fill in for Freeman as a starter over the next two months, at least against right-handers. And then?
“He’s a good bat off the bench,” Braves general manager John Coppolella said. “He will help us even when Freddie Freeman comes back to the Braves.”
As a P-O senior in 2006, Adams led the Mounties to a District 6 championship and earned all-state honors as a catcher. A poster of Adams is still hung up near the P-O baseball field, where he often cranked home runs over the fence and into the trees.
He attended Slippery Rock from 2007 to 2009, appearing in 137 games while batting .454 and recording 148 RBIs. SRU retired his number — 25 — two years ago. Adams was drafted in the 23rd round of the 2009 MLB draft, and he’s been with the Cardinals ever since — at least until Saturday.
Now, with a career MLB batting average of .271, Philipsburg’s famous alum is taking his talents to Atlanta.
“I think our ownership really stepped forward here to take on money and get a really good player,” Coppolella said. “We’re trying to win right now.”