Grichuk, Taveras start together in outfield for opener with Royals

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by JJ Bailey / BaseballStL | @TheJJBailey

KMOV.com

Posted on June 2, 2014 at 5:59 PM

Updated Monday, Jun 2 at 6:41 PM

(BaseballStL) — In what could be a sneak peek of the outfield of the future, two of the Cardinals’ top prospects will start together Monday. 

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Randal Grichuk, acquired in a trade from the Angels along with Peter Bourjos, will bat second and man center field. Big-swinging Oscar Taveras will play right and bat seventh. 

This puts 99 percent (no, really) of all MLB playing experience in left field in the form of Matt Holliday.  When asked about the decision to start both prospects simultaneously, Mike Matheny expressed confidence in his young outfielders.

“Randal and Oscar have played together before” he said. “We feel like we’re going to have a good shot when we put them in there. We feel like they’re ready for it and we’ll see how it goes.”

Kansas City’s 26-30 record coming into the series may also make the decision easier, especially with lefty Danny Dufy on the hill for the Royals. 

With Grichuk hitting second and playing center, Kolten Wong ceded his spot to veteran Mark Ellis. Wong has hit .172 against lefties in the majors and .125 against southpaw starters. Though Ellis has had a dismal year at the plate thus far, Matheny felt a right-handed lineup was his best play. 

Lost in all the outfield shuffle is the name Peter Bourjos. The speedy center fielder is the best defensive outfielder on the roster, but his .202 average is too low to warrant playing time amidst a squad of promising bats. Bourjos’ speed was the most potent tool in his arsenal, but an on base percentage of .272 has neutralized that threat. He may be able to steal on anyone and score from first on a single, but he has to be on base to do it. 

His struggles at the plate have opened the door for Jon Jay, who responded by hitting .281 and posting an OBP of .343 in 49 games.

As long as Bourjos sputters on the offensive side, the Cardinals will be willing to take downgrades on the defensive one in exchange for Jay’s bat. Or, like Monday, give new names a shot at putting it all together. 

Injury Check

Two Cardinals were dinged up in Sunday’s finale with the Giants. Lance Lynn injured his right knee on a play at first in the opening inning of the contest. He would stay in the game, but said afterward he could feel the discomfort in his knee. 

“Yesterday we knew when we went out and everybody met him at the mound that something was going on there,” Matheny said Monday. “The rest of the game we kept an eye on it and it seemed like it was something that he felt but didn’t keep him from doing what he needed to do.”

Lynn reportedly hyperextended the joint while covering first, and it was enough to get examined Monday by team doctors. 

“We’ll find something out in a little bit,” Matheny said. “Right now we’re just getting it checked out and after they do some tests we’ll have some more information.” 

Allen Craig is back in the lineup after getting hit in the head with a pitch from Giants starter Tom Hudson in the third inning. He remained in the game Sunday until the rout was on and Matheny pulled several every-day players.

The manager said Monday Craig had no concussion symptoms and was cleared medically to play. 

“If he would have had dizziness or the headaches or any sort of lapses- anything mentally that wasn’t sharp- would would have jumped on it but everything cleared out yesterday fine,” he said. 

Lineup

1) Matt Carpenter 3B

2) Randal Grichuk CF

3) Matt Holliday LF

4) Allen Craig 1B

5) Yadier Molina C

6) Jhonny Peralta SS

7) Oscar Taveras RF

8) Mark Ellis 2B

9) Shelby Miller P

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