The All-Star break didn’t give Carlos Gonzalez enough time to recover from his sore wrist, so the Rockies brought Dexter Fowler back from the minors a bit earlier than expected Friday.
After a slow start for Triple-A Colorado Springs, Fowler had hit .385/.489/.615 in his last 10 games. He homered in two of his last three games after going 295 at-bats without one between the majors and minors this season.
The Rockies don’t necessarily want Fowler hitting homers, though: what they want is fewer strikeouts and more singles from him at the top of the order. Fowler scored 27 runs in his 43 games as the Rockies’ leadoff man, but manager Jim Tracy was much more focused on his .238 average and 66 strikeouts in 210 at-bats prior to his demotion.
Gonzalez remains day-to-day after testing his wrist during batting practice Friday. He could be available tonight off the bench as a defensive replacement or pinch-runner.
The Blue Jays announced on Friday that the club acquired outfielder Randal Grichuk from the Cardinals in exchange for pitcher Dominic Leone and minor league pitcher Conner Greene.
Grichuk, 26, became expendable when the Cardinals acquired Marcell Ozuna from the Marlins. With veteran Dexter Fowler in right field and Tommy Pham — who finished 11th in NL MVP Award balloting last season — in center, Grichuk was effectively pushed to the bench. He will get a shot at regular playing time in an outfield corner with the Jays. Grichuk has had solid numbers since debuting in 2014, but he hasn’t been able to recapture the magic of his 2015 campaign. Last year, he hit .238/.285/.473 with 22 home runs and 59 RBI in 442 plate appearances.
Grichuk will earn $2.8 million this season and will be eligible for arbitration for two more years before becoming a free agent.
Leone, 26, posted an impressive 2.56 ERA with an 81/23 K/BB ratio across 70 1/3 innings last season. The right-hander will earn $1.085 million this season and then will become arbitration-eligible for the next three years. Leone certainly helps bolster the Cardinals’ bullpen and may work his way up to high-leverage innings behind closer Luke Gregerson.
Greene, 22, was selected by the Blue Jays in the seventh round of the 2013 draft. This past season, with Double-A New Hampshire, Greene compiled a 5.29 ERA with a 92/83 K/BB ratio in 132 2/3 innings. He throws hard, but control has been a big issue for the right-hander throughout his minor league career. The Cardinals may think they can help turn him around.