Harrison Bader meets the press
Harrison Bader is the newest face on the St. Louis Cardinals.
Bader’s contract was purchased from Class AAA Memphis on Tuesday when the Cardinals placed outfielder Dexter Fowler on the disabled list with a strained left forearm.
Bader was in Memphis when Redbirds manager Stubby Clapp called him at 10:30 a.m. Tuesday and gave him the news he had dreamed of hearing.
“I was in the middle of waking up and Stubby called me,” Bader said. “I had a little cold and Stubby asked me how my cold was. He said I was in his lineup (Tuesday) night and I said, ‘OK, cool.’ He’s like, ‘I’m just making sure you’re feeling good.’ I was like, ‘Yeah.’
“Then he said, ‘Yeah, but (the lineup) was scratched because you’re in the lineup in St. Louis.’ I got up and said, ‘If you’re messing with me, I’m coming out on the field and I’m going to have a word with you.’ But it was good. It was a very good call.”
Bader, 23, will become the sixth Cardinal to make his major-league debut this season. He played center field and batted seventh in the Cardinals’ game against Colorado.
Fowler, 31, was removed from the game in the top of the eighth inning Monday after he flied out to center in the seventh. The switch-hitting outfielder is batting .241 with 14 home runs and 37 RBIs in 81 games.
“It’s no swinging for a few days. Then we’ll sort of regroup from there,” Cardinals General Manager Mike Girsch said of Fowler. “With Stephen (Piscotty) out and Dexter out, we’ve been talking about Harrison a variety of times to come up. It just felt like he’s been playing so well in Memphis that it was time to get him up here and give him a shot.”
Piscotty (right groin strain) will begin a rehab assignment Thursday at low-Class A Peoria.
Bader was the Cardinals’ third-round draft pick (100th overall) out of Florida in 2015. He was batting .297 with 18 doubles, 19 homers and 48 RBIs in 97 games with the Redbirds, although he had 90 strikeouts in 350 at-bats
Bader was rated the No. 7 prospect in the Cardinals system by “Baseball America.” In 289 career minor-league games, he has batted .287 with 49 home runs and 138 RBIs, with 50 doubles, eight triples and 39 stolen bases in 64 attempts.
Bader, wearing No. 48, is a right-handed batter. Several family members, including his dad, mom and sister, were in the Busch Stadium seats for the game.
“I’m just looking forward to getting out there with these guys and having a good game – going out there and playing ball,” Bader said in between hugs with several of his former teammates at Memphis. “The hardest part is focusing on the task at hand. But you go out there and play baseball. You simplify it. It’s a lot easier that way, for sure.
“You just play your game. The only game I know how to play is my own game. That’s the most important part. I know I can add something.”
Girsch said Bader “does a little bit of everything well.”
“He’s a plus defender in center field,” he said. “He’s got good power. He runs the bases well. He’s hitting for a high average. Like a lot of young guys, he could walk a little more and strike out a little less. But given the rest of the package, it’s pretty exciting.”
In another move, the Cardinals gave outfielder Chad Huffman his unconditional release.
Wainwright to DL
Right-hander Adam Wainwright was placed on the 10-day disabled list about two hours before the game Tuesday, retroactive to Sunday. Wainwright is suffering from tightness in his middle back.
The Cardinals didn’t immediately announce a corresponding move, although Luke Weaver was scratched Tuesday from his start at Memphis against Salt Lake. Miguel Socolovich started for Weaver.
Wainwright, who was scheduled to pitch Thursday against the Arizona Diamondbacks, is 11-5 with a 4.89 ERA in 20 games, all of them starts.
Wainwright pitched 7 2/3 innings Saturday against the Chicago Cubs. Cardinals manager Mike Matheny had an extended conversation with Wainwright before the pitcher left the mound with a 2-1 lead.
The Cubs followed with back-to-back hits against Matt Bowman and Brett Cecil as they posted a 3-2 win. Wainwright wound up with a no-decision.
Eighth to fourth
Randal Grichuk, who homered in his fourth consecutive game Monday with a line drive to the Cardinals bullpen in right, was elevated from eighth to fourth in the lineup Tuesday.
Grichuk has homered in six of his last eight game.
“I’ve got to stay away from letting it get in my head too much,” Grichuk said of the key to staying on the upswing instead of falling into a slump. “I feel like, mechanically, my swing feels great. I feel like I’m shorter to the ball right now. It looks and feels good.
“The mental side of it, you don’t want to creep in, in the sense of thinking too much what (pitchers) are trying to do to me. I’ll stay with my approach and stick with it. Home runs are great. It’s the most fun thing you can do at the plate. But you want to have a quality at-bat. That’s what keeps you in the lineup.”
Grichuk is glad to see Bader next to him in the outfield.
“He’s been playing really well down there,” Grichuk said. “It’s a special time for him. I’ll say congrats, talk to him about the outfield and tell him to go out and have some fun.”
David Wilhelm: @DavidMWilhelm