ST. LOUIS -- Randal Grichuk, the Cardinals' projected starting left fielder, divulged on Sunday that he began the offseason by undergoing a scope to remove floating cartilage in his left knee. The club had not previously announced the surgery.
The procedure required six weeks of rehab, and it addressed discomfort that Grichuk said began one month into the 2016 season. He managed the issue with constant treatment, but Grichuk noted that it was a constant irritant.
"There was a lot going on," he said. "Clicking, soreness, tightness. Kind of pain throughout the year. It was good to get that looked at at the end of the year and get that cleaned up."
How much the injury affected Grichuk's mobility was something he couldn't quantify, but it likely was a contributing factor in the up-and-down season that included infrequent playing time and a pair of demotions to Triple-A. Grichuk did finish strong, though, hitting .275/.303/.579 with an .881 OPS after returning from the Minors the second time.
Grichuk cited the difference then as the Cardinals' commitment to playing him, regardless of the previous day's result. It's a commitment the organization is making again now, though with the added wrinkle of slotting Grichuk in as a left fielder, not a center fielder, in 2017.
"Definitely did not go the way I wanted," Grichuk said of his 2016 season. "A lot of ups and downs. But I finished strong and consistent. I felt like I got my swing set up at the end of the year. That's what I was searching for for months. It's a season to put behind me."
Jenifer Langosch has covered the Cardinals for MLB.com since 2012, and previously covered the Pirates from 2007-11. Read her blog, follow her on Twitter, like her Facebook page and listen to her podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.