According to Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, Randal Grichuk is getting a promotion back to the St. Louis roster after riding a hot streak in Memphis.
Grichuk was initially sent to Class-A Palm Beach at the end of May to work with hitting coach George Greer on pitch recognition and strike zone management. Grichuk was promoted to Memphis a short time later–Greer went along with him to coach hitting for the Class-AAA Redbirds after the major league club received a coaching shakeup.
Grichuk has flashed the thunder in his bat, with a batting line of .273/.324/.621 and a .945 OPS during his time in the minors. He’s even swatted six home runs over his last ten games with Memphis.
His strike zone management, however, has remained largely unchanged. Grichuk struck out 20 times in 63 at-bats, and walked only four times during his stint in the minors. Whether one could reasonably expect that a few weeks in the minors could improve this aspect of Grichuk’s game that has maligned him for years is certainly up for debate–but that was the indication the team gave when sending him down.
Now that the Cardinals are bringing Grichuk back despite those concerns going unaddressed in his statistics, it could be time for the “sink or swim” ultimatum John Mozeliak invoked for Grichuk during a press conference earlier in June.
The team has not yet announced Grichuk’s return, so the corresponding move is not yet known. Chad Huffman and Jose Martinez have minor league options remaining, as do several relievers. The move that could make the most sense would be a disabled list stint for Dexter Fowler, who has been limited by a quad issue this week.
There has also been speculation that Fowler has been affected defensively by the shoulder injury that knocked him out for a few games earlier this season. With Fowler in the mix and both Tommy Pham and Jose Martinez pushing for playing time as it is, Mike Matheny would have tough decisions filling out his outfield for each game. Ten days for Fowler to rest his nagging ailments would provide Grichuk some playing time, allowing the Cardinals to move toward a decision on his roster status going forward.