DETROIT -- Since tallying 13 hits in his first 34 at-bats, Matt Adams has found himself in a recurring battle to maintain the approach that got him to the Major Leagues in the first place.
In an effort to find better at-bat to at-bat consistency, Adams said he recently made some mechanical tweaks with his swing at the urging of hitting coaches Mark McGwire and John Mabry. None of the adjustments were major, though Adams noted that he saw and felt a payoff on Wednesday.
"I felt really good last night," Adams said on Thursday. "I'm just seeing the ball a lot better and felt a lot more comfortable at the plate. I just think I got out of my comfort zone a little bit. I started chasing more pitches and got anxious. It's just tough whenever the pitchers find a weakness in you. They just hammer you until they see that you're able to make that adjustment."
The pressing has shown in Adams' results. After that hot nine-game start, Adams recorded just seven hits in his next 48 at-bats. Only two of those went for extra bases, and Adams struck out 16 times during the 17-game span.
"It's a trap that happens to almost every young kid when he comes up here," manager Mike Matheny said. "Early on, he was doing a really nice job of sticking with what he knew was his typical approach. Then he fell into where he thought he had to do more, regardless of what the hitting coaches were telling him. He starts trying to do more, and that usually leads to bad things."
While Adams is encouraged by recent progress, he may soon be continuing that work back in the Minors. With Jon Jay and Matt Carpenter set to come off the disabled list soon, Adams is a candidate to be sent out. The Cardinals prefer that Adams continue to get regular at-bats, and that is unlikely to be possible when Jay and Carpenter are back in the mix.
M. Carpenter, Jay back with Cardinals
DETROIT -- Matt Carpenter and Jon Jay returned from the disabled list on Friday, and both players will be with the Cardinals during the team's weekend series in Kansas City.
St. Louis optioned first baseman Matt Adams and outfielder Adron Chambers to Triple-A Memphis.
Carpenter played in his sixth rehab game on Thursday, a day after he played a full nine innings in right field. He had four hits in 17 Minor League at-bats, and the right oblique strain that sidelined him was not an issue.
Jay began his rehab assignment later than Carpenter, but manager Mike Matheny had noted that Jay's early results could speed up the center fielder's timetable. Jay, who was on the DL because of a right shoulder sprain, had three hits -- including a triple and a home run -- in seven Triple-A at-bats.
Jay's return will mean more playing time at first base for Allen Craig. With Carpenter also able to play that position, at-bats would have become sparse for Adams. As for Chambers, he falls further on the center-field depth chart.
Craig's wrist sore, but allows him to DH
DETROIT -- Allen Craig referred to his left wrist as "all right" a day after landing on it awkwardly while trying to make a diving catch in the outfield.
Though the wrist remains sore, Craig felt good enough during a pregame session of indoor batting practice to give manager Mike Matheny the green light to insert him into the lineup. Matheny made Craig the team's designated hitter, at least allowing Craig the opportunity to avoid aggravating his wrist in the field.
Craig sustained the injury in the sixth inning of Wednesday's 3-1 win over the Tigers. He hesitated before running in on a shallow fly ball hit by Delmon Young and couldn't make the diving catch. When Craig hit the ground, he jammed the back of his glove hand with the ground.
Though the Cardinals were hopeful that the outfield would be easier on Craig's surgically repaired right knee this season, Craig continues to be more susceptible to injury while in the outfield.
Craig's offseason knee surgery was prompted by an incident last summer in which he ran into a wall while playing the outfield in Houston. Then in May, it was another diving outfield attempt that proved troublesome. He strained his left hamstring on that play and landed on the disabled list as a result.
"Yesterday, he didn't get a good jump on it, which made it turn into more of a dramatic play than what it needed to be," Matheny said. "The injuries have come from the outfield. But early on, it was a lot more taxing on the knee playing him at first base. So we were almost doing him a favor putting him in the outfield."
Craig could find his way back to first base soon. With Jon Jay nearing his return and the Cardinals' opportunity to use a DH ending after the weekend, Craig will likely shift back to the infield.
Though Tyler Rahmatulla has since been promoted to Class A Advanced Palm Beach, he was recognized on Thursday for being the Midwest League's best hitter in May. Rahmatulla, who hit .342 with three homers and 24 RBIs for low Class A Quad Cities last month, was named one of 10 Topps Players of the Month for May. Rahmatulla, a 34th-round pick in the 2011 First-Year Player Draft, is 4-for-11 since his promotion.
After facing the Royals for the first time in his career last weekend, Carlos Beltran is prepared to make his first return to Kansas City since the Royals traded him away in June 2004. In 403 games at Kauffman Stadium, Beltran hit .299 with 60 homers and 268 RBIs.
The Cardinals will face right-handed starters Vin Mazarro and Luis Mendoza to open their upcoming three-game series in Kansas City. Lefty Jonathan Sanchez will start the final game for the Royals. Mazarro and Mendoza made starts against the Cardinals last weekend, and the Royals won both of those games.
In addition to extending his hitting streak to 12 games with a two-hit night on Wednesday, Beltran moved to within 10 hits of 2,000 in his career.
Pitching prospect Carlos Martinez made his second start for Double-A Springfield on Wednesday and allowed two runs on five hits in the three-inning outing. Martinez moved up a level after posting a 3.00 ERA in seven high-A starts.
Jenifer Langosch is a reporter for MLB.com. Read her blog, By Gosh, It's Langosch, and follow her on Twitter @LangoschMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.