Matheny believes outfielder will benefit from low-pressure environment
By Alaina Getzenberg
ST. LOUIS -- The Cardinals' roster has changed this week in an effort to distance the team from the 4-10 run it experienced in late May. Part of that process was sending outfielder Randal Grichuk down to Class A Advanced Palm Beach to allow him to step away from the pressure and hopefully spark his offense.
On Thursday, Cards manager Mike Matheny said that after Grichuk was sent down on Monday, he started his work on Wednesday and would eventually be participating in games. Unlike many moves to the Minor Leagues, this one was made to give Grichuk individualized attention.
"[I've] always been a big fan of [Grichuk] and his potential and his ability and him as a person, so it's tough," Matheny said. "I think it's probably viewed on the outside as much more of a demotion than it is on the inside. … None of us have seen what this kid has the potential to do. What we're doing right now isn't working, so let's try something else."
Before being sent down, Grichuk was hitting .222 with 37 hits, 19 RBIs and four homers. While in Jupiter, Fla., the outfielder will be working with Minor League offensive strategist George Greer individually to improve those numbers.
"I think what George also provides is not the pressure of being here, and that's taking a step back to be able to just work without that weight on your shoulders of having to go out and perform the same night," Matheny said. "It's getting him into a different environment."
Another tough move made by the Cardinals this past week was releasing relief pitcher Jonathan Broxton on Wednesday. With a 6.89 ERA in 15 2/3 innings, he was struggling to get things going in a bullpen that was often unable to take advantage of the starting pitchers' performances.
John Gant was called up from Triple-A Memphis in his place, but Matheny acknowledged that Broxton is someone whose presence in the clubhouse will be greatly missed.
"That's one of the best people I've come across in the game," Matheny said. "Always a high-quality person and a high-quality competitor, amazing teammate. This guy was doing so much behind the scenes. … Just an impressive guy, and I am better and so are most of the guys on this team better for having him around."
Update on Wong Kolten Wong is on the 10-day disabled list with a left elbow strain. He will not travel with the team to Chicago for its weekend series vs. the Cubs, but he is hoping to make it back as soon as his stint on the DL is up during the following series with the Reds.
"He was out doing some work today, too, and I know he feels good where he is right now and he's improving," Matheny said. "[I] felt that 10 days should be sufficient to get him to that point. Just a matter of how everything else falls in place once he starts doing everything full speed."
Wong has 37 hits in 133 at-bats this season, including one homer and 16 RBIs. He received an MRI Monday morning to confirm that there was no structural damage for the injury he had been dealing with for about a week.
Alaina Getzenberg is a reporter for MLB.com based in St. Louis. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.