Grichuk gets first career start, hit

News-DemocratApril 29, 2014 

— Randal Grichuk received his first career start in center field Tuesday as the St. Louis Cardinals played Milwaukee.

Grichuk, batting seventh, wasted little time capitalizing on his chance when he opened the second with a sharp single to left against Kyle Lohse. He received the ball as a memento.

Grichuk was recalled Sunday night from Class AAA Memphis. He entered the game in a double-switch Monday and was 0-for-2.

"We brought him here to play," Cardinals manager Mike Matheny said before the game Tuesday. "I don't know how much it's going to look like (that). We've got an opportunity to get him in there today, and we'll just see what he does with it."

Matheny would not commit to using Grichuk regularly, even though Cardinals center fielders Jon Jay and Peter Bourjos are batting a combined .205 with 11 RBIs.

"We have some other guys that are going to get some playing time, too," Matheny said. "Look at our outfield here over the last week; some big hits and big at-bats by Jon Jay. He's done a nice job. (And) we're still trying to get Peter going."

Jay was 0-for-6 on Monday and is batting .242 (15-for-62). Bourjos is batting .160 (8-for-50) with 17 strikeouts, and Matheny said it's "extremely difficult" to find a way to keep him involved.

It hasn't been any easier for Bourjos, who is in an 0-for-16 slump.

"If you sit back and look at, I don't know, maybe I'm 0-for-15 or whatever," Bourjos said. "Over a two-week span or a week-and-a-half span, that seems like it's pretty bad. But realistically, some guys are getting those at-bats in three days.

"You've got to turn the page. I think you can really get focused on those 0-for-3s, and that one 0-for-3 can last for three days, grinding it out and in your head, thinking about it. You've really just got to turn the page and get on to that next game, whenever that may be."

Bourjos knows just one solution.

"Work hard. That's it. It's the only way," he said. "I'm just going about the normal stuff. That's all you can do --wait for your opportunity and hopefully you take advantage of it.

"It's tough to get in a rhythm. Any time you're in and out of (action), it's not an easy thing to go through. But the team, offensively, hasn't been producing like we know it can. Obviously, somebody has to take less playing time to get the rhythm going, and it's been me so far."

Adams wearing brace

First baseman Matt Adams said Tuesday that he plans to wear a brace on his right elbow for the remainder of the season.

Adams said the elbow, which was hyperextended in September, feels fine. Wearing the brace is a preventative measure.

"The elbow is 100 percent fine," he said. "It felt good in spring training. I just wanted to see what it felt like with it off. It's going to be a thing to help my elbow not get overextended. With a long season, it's smart to put it back on and make sure that elbow stays 100 percent."

Adams began Tuesday with just one home run in 99 at-bats, although he was batting .323.

"I think it's going to be for the rest of the season," Adams said of wearing the brace. "It feels good on there. It doesn't limit my swing. That hyperextension, I don't want that to come back. I talked with (trainers) Greg (Hauck) and Chris (Conroy) about it and they said, 'If it feels good, it's your call.' So I'm putting it back on."

Wainwright on Friday

Matheny said ace Adam Wainwright (5-1, 1.20 ERA) will start the first game of the road trip Friday against the Chicago Cubs. Matheny had said Sunday that Tyler Lyons would pitch.

Lyons, however, has been available in the bullpen this week as a left-handed option because Kevin Siegrist is battling back tightness. With an off day Thursday, the Cardinals opted to use Wainwright on regular rest.

Lyons relieved Lance Lynn in the sixth inning Tuesday.

Using Wainwright on Friday would likely mean Michael Wacha would pitch Saturday and Lynn would work Sunday.

Pain for Matheny

The Cardinals were coming off a 5-3 loss in 12 innings Tuesday --their 16th game with three runs or less. Matheny, in his third season, said tough losses aren't any easier to accept than they were in his first year.

"This one's awful," Matheny said. "All day long, I felt sick. You have a group of guys that are struggling offensively and a couple of balls jumps out of the park and we get a three-run lead. Then you watch it go away. Those are hard to swallow.

"We had enough opportunities and chances that we should typically take that one and bring it home. Those are hard to let go."

Garcia, Motte to Springfield

Jaime Garcia will make a rehab start for Class AA Springfield on Sunday against Tulsa. Garcia was shut down early in spring training with left shoulder discomfort.

Reliever Jason Motte, coming back from Tommy John surgery, will report to Springfield over the weekend to begin a rehab stint.

Contact reporter David Wilhelm at dwilhelm@bnd.com or 239-2665. Follow him on Twitter: @DavidMWilhelm.

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