Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Cards Notes: Good Series for Grichuk

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Cards Notes: Good Series for Grichuk

Article excerpt

When it comes to his expanding role as the Cardinals' counterpunch to a lefthanded reliever, rookie Randal Grichuk has found a way to prepare for an at-bat like he had late Saturday evening: arrive early, watch closely.

"I try to get out there and watch as many warmups as I can from the on-deck circle to get the timing down," Grichuk said. "I think that's key. Really, I try to get out there as soon as possible."

He did that Saturday, and he hit the first pitch of the inning for a homer.

Grichuk clubbed a homer in consecutive games over the weekend, and he added an RBI double Saturday. The rookie earned a start Sunday against a righthanded pitcher, Alfredo Simon, and had an RBI double in the sixth inning.

Increasingly it appears that Grichuk could be the righthanded- hitting complement in right field for the postseason. Cardinals manager Mike Matheny has shied away from true platoons the past few Octobers, preferring to stick with an everyday lineup for the playoffs. There are more moving parts to the roster this season, and Grichuk has emerged as a productive one.

"I think we've been doing a little bit of that (platooning) this season, not so much to say we're hand-tied to it," Matheny said. "I think it's fair to say it's a little different with what you've seen us do in right field. Kind of wait and see who's swinging the bat well, who's playing well defensively, start weighing out the defensive-offensive contributions. We've got time to think about that."

Grichuk, 23, improved to six-for-17 (.353) as a pinch-hitter with his homer Saturday. All three of his home runs this season have come off lefties.

Grichuk said after talking with teammates and getting suggestions he's adopted a more aggressive approach as a pinch-hitter because "you're not loose, you don't have the rhythm." On days a righty is starting, he often studies video instead of the lefty relievers he'll see. …

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