Grichuk to get starts all over Cardinals' outfield

Grichuk to get starts all over Cardinals' outfield

ST. LOUIS -- If Saturday's lineup is any indication of how Cardinals manager Mike Matheny intends to fit five productive outfielders into three spots, look for Randal Grichuk to be a priority presence throughout the mixing and matching.

After spotting left fielder Matt Holliday a day off on Friday, Grichuk moved to the other corner spot in place of Jason Heyward on Saturday. He will continue to make starts in center, too, with that versatility being key in Matheny's ability to find regular playing time for the 23-year-old outfielder.

Since missing a month with a back injury, Grichuk has tallied nine extra-base hits and driven home seven runs in 13 games (11 starts). He delivered an RBI double in Friday's win while batting cleanup for the first time in his career. On Saturday, he was bumped down into the five-hole.

"[He has a] much more mature approach," Matheny said when asked how Grichuk has developed over the last year. "Now it looks like he has an idea of what he's looking for. He's starting to break down pitchers a little better. I think he's starting to clean up some of the holes that he had before, too, trying to cover pitches in certain counts."

Through the first four games of this homestand, Grichuk had six hits in 11 at-bats. He has also made a collection of stellar defensive plays since coming off the disabled list.

Grichuk's smooth sliding catch

Worth noting

• After spending Friday at home recovering from an illness, Holliday returned to the Cardinals' lineup on Saturday. He has reached base in all 43 games he's played this season.

• Jose Molina, who served as a guest instructor with the Cardinals during Spring Training, was back with the team on Saturday, though in a "brother" capacity, Matheny joked. Jose spent time with younger brother Yadier Molina and Yadier's son, Yanuell. "This might be the best catching camp in the world," Matheny said after watching the two Molina brothers and Tony Cruz give instruction to the 6-year-old boy.

• Tate Matheny, the eldest of Matheny's five children, hit a grand slam in Missouri State University's 14-1 NCAA Division I Springfield Regional win over Canisius on Saturday. Matheny watched part of the game via a web-streamed telecast. Tate Matheny is ranked by MLB Pipeline as one of the Top 100 prospects in next month's Draft.

Jenifer Langosch is a reporter for MLB.com. Read her blog, By Gosh, It's Langosch, follow her on Twitter @LangoschMLB, like her Facebook page Jenifer Langosch for Cardinals.com and listen to her podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.