Randal Grichuk, whose emergence in the Cardinals’ lineup came as an injury replacement for Matt Holliday, is now headed to the disabled list with a strained elbow.
Grichuk has been fantastic for St. Louis–first replacing Holliday in left field and recently stepping in as the primary center fielder–hitting .284 with 15 homers and an .894 OPS in 85 games as a 23-year-old rookie.
He joins Holliday and Jon Jay on the disabled list, so the Cardinals figure to stick with Stephen Piscotty in left field and turn back to Peter Bourjos in center field, with Triple-A call-up Tommy Phan arriving to provide depth. Jason Heyward playing center field is also an option.
Matt Holliday has missed the past six weeks–including the All-Star game–with a strained quadriceps muscle, but the Cardinals left fielder is off the disabled list and back in the starting lineup tonight.
Holliday was having a very good season before the injury, hitting .303 with an .839 OPS in 52 games, but the Cardinals got excellent fill-in work from rookie Randal Grichuk in left field. Grichuk, who’ll turn 24 years old next month, has hit .277 with an .853 OPS in 59 games overall this season.
It’ll be interesting to see how manager Mike Matheny divvies up the playing time now that Holliday is back in the mix. Grichuk can play center field, allowing the Cardinals to keep him in the lineup alongside Holliday and right fielder Jason Heyward, which is exactly what Matheny is doing tonight. Light-hitting, good-fielding Peter Bourjos is on the bench.
Matt Holliday has been sidelined since June 8 with a Grade 2 strain of his right quadriceps muscle, but the Cardinals haven’t given up hope on having him back before the All-Star break.
According to Jenifer Langosch of MLB.com, Holliday resumed taking batting practice this week without any issue. He still needs to ramp things up with his running before being cleared for game action. The hope is that he’ll show enough progress while traveling with the team next week.
“Still optimistic,” Matheny said of getting Holliday back in the lineup next week. “We do have hopes, but understand, too, that if something doesn’t feel right, look right, we can back off. But we’ll continue to try to push him.”
The 35-year-old Holliday had just three home runs in 52 games prior to the injury, but he was batting .303 with a .417 on-base percentage. Randal Grichuk and Peter Bourjos have functioned as regulars in the Cardinals’ lineup in recent days.