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Grichuk requests extra AB, is hit by a pitch

Outfielder doubtful for Cards' two exhibition games; Fryer will serve as Molina's backup
MLB.com @LangoschMLB

JUPITER, Fla. -- The extra plate appearance Randal Grichuk requested on Wednesday was one he regretted afterward.

Grichuk's Grapefruit League season ended not on a high note, but rather with him taking a pitch from Nationals reliever Phillips Valdez off his right middle knuckle. The Cardinals don't believe the impact broke any bones, but it will keep Grichuk sidelined for the team's exhibition game in Memphis on Thursday. He may sit Friday as well.

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JUPITER, Fla. -- The extra plate appearance Randal Grichuk requested on Wednesday was one he regretted afterward.

Grichuk's Grapefruit League season ended not on a high note, but rather with him taking a pitch from Nationals reliever Phillips Valdez off his right middle knuckle. The Cardinals don't believe the impact broke any bones, but it will keep Grichuk sidelined for the team's exhibition game in Memphis on Thursday. He may sit Friday as well.

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"I felt good in my first two [at-bats], but I wanted to kind of work on a couple more things and feel out a couple more things," Grichuk said after the team's 6-2 win. "I asked for the [extra at-bat] and didn't even get a chance to swing the bat. Things work out that way sometimes."

The Cardinals did not send Grichuk out for an X-ray on Wednesday, but they will consider doing so in Memphis if his hand does not improve overnight.

Roster moves

The Cardinals made a handful of roster moves after Wednesday's win as they move closer toward finalizing their Opening Day roster.

Catcher Eric Fryer, a non-roster invitee, had his contract purchased and will begin the year as Yadier Molina's backup. To clear a spot for Fryer on the 40-man roster, the Cardinals transferred reliever Zach Duke to the 60-day disabled list. Duke is recovering from Tommy John surgery and unlikely to pitch this season.

The Cardinals also reassigned five players -- Paul DeJong, Arturo Reyes, Ryan Sherriff, Harrison Bader and Chad Huffman -- to Minor League camp. All five will open the season on the Triple-A Memphis roster.

Rotation plans

Matheny acknowledged that the Cardinals are leaning toward starting Lance Lynn in the third game of the team's opening series against the Cubs. Before finalizing that, however, the Cardinals want to see how Lynn feels after pitching in a Minor League game in Jupiter on Thursday.

Lynn is scheduled to throw about 80-85 pitches in that outing. He threw only 10 in his most recent Grapefruit League outing because of a pinch in his upper back.

If Lynn does start for the Cardinals on April 5, that would leave Mike Leake and Michael Wacha to pitch in the first two games of the team's following series against Cincinnati.

Jenifer Langosch has covered the Cardinals for MLB.com since 2012, and previously covered the Pirates from 2007-11. Follow her on Twitter, like her Facebook page and listen to her podcast.

St. Louis Cardinals, Randal Grichuk