"I wanted to train my eye to see it," Grichuk explained. "You just have to get used to seeing the curveball and slider running away from you a little bit."
Looking back on his first taste of the Majors, Grichuk cited a deficiency in his production against right-handed pitchers. While he actually hit for a slightly higher average against righties (.250) than he did lefties (.242), the power numbers off the two didn't compare. Grichuk has yet to hit a home run off a Major League right-hander and averaged one every 27 at-bats last year in Triple-A. Off left-handers, Grichuk averaged one homer per every 13 Triple-A at-bats.
The disparity is one reason why the Cardinals started Grichuk almost exclusively against lefties during his first weeks in the Majors. It wasn't until the Cardinals needed more regular right-field help late in the year that Grichuk drew more starts against right-handers.
"I think it kind of got in my head last year," Grichuk said. "I didn't put together good at-bats [against righties] early and did against lefties. This year I'm going to be comfortable off both sides and really focus on having good quality at-bats and making sure it's in the zone and not chasing."
The sample size is small, but Grichuk has had some early spring success against right-handers. His first home run of the spring came off an A.J. Cole breaking ball. He went deep for the third time on Sunday with a booming solo shot off Twins righty Ricky Nolasco.
If the Cardinals end up carrying Grichuk on their Opening Day roster, it will be as a bench player. In that case, he'd likely continue to take the majority of his at-bats against left-handers. To emerge as an everyday option in the future, however, he'd have to show a more complete offensive profile.
"I think he just had a real comfortable groove against left-handers [last year] because we were throwing him against left-handers so much," manager Mike Matheny said. "But the kind of power he has, it's just a matter of getting timed up. He can make a bad pitch go pretty far."
Jenifer Langosch is a reporter for MLB.com. Read her blog, By Gosh, It's Langosch, follow her on Twitter @LangoschMLB and like her Facebook page Jenifer Langosch for Cardinals.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.