The first-place Cardinals had a .400 hitter sitting on the bench for the 11th time in 12 games Friday night. Manager Mike Matheny, who had pledged he would try to get lefthanded-hitting slugger Matt Adams at least a start a series, has revised that plan a bit, although there is a chance Adams would play today against Los Angeles’ Ted Lilly.

Adams stays ready as best he can. “I’m going to keep doing my cage work,” said Adams, hitting .400 on the nose with three homers in 40 at-bats. “That’s the same thing I was doing at the beginning of the year.

“I’m getting my work in and then I’m paying attention to the game, seeing what a pitcher’s tendencies are.”

Adams nearly hit a home run in his last at-bat Monday, flying to deep center off San Diego lefthanded slider specialist Joe Thatcher. Matheny admitted that had caught his eye.

“That’s a home run in just about every park,” said Matheny.

Adams said he had worked in the offseason in Phillipsburg, Pa., to improve against lefthanders, even to the point of batting against a machine that dealt lefthanded sliders at the local YMCA.

Of course, there are several reasons Adams hasn’t played more, and their names are Carlos Beltran, Allen Craig and Matt Holliday, the top run producers on the club.

“I know I’m hitting .400 but there are not many at-bats,” said Adams, 24. “If I hit a slide, it’s going to be .200 before too long.

“I’ve just got to go about my business. We’ve got a great team here. Anything I can contribute, I’m willing to do.”

In any event, Adams said it was better to be a bench player here, rather than a starter at Memphis. “It’s always great to know you’re going to be playing every day,” he said. “But to be a part of a club like this is really something special.”

Adams said he not only had learned from current hitting coaches John Mabry and Bengie Molina but from Mark McGwire last year.