PHOENIX -- When manager Mike Matheny pulled Aledmys Diaz aside on Wednesday to inform the second-year shortstop that he'd be headed to Triple-A for a reset, Matheny made a point of leaving Diaz with tangible evidence of what could be. He cited Randal Grichuk.Grichuk has been where Diaz is going
PHOENIX -- When manager Mike Matheny pulled Aledmys Diaz aside on Wednesday to inform the second-year shortstop that he'd be headed to Triple-A for a reset, Matheny made a point of leaving Diaz with tangible evidence of what could be. He cited Randal Grichuk.
Grichuk has been where Diaz is going now, demoted to the Minors to unravel flaws in his swing and doubts in his mind. Grichuk returned from his latest Minor League stint on Sunday bragging of a newfound confidence, which has been further boosted by performance. Leaving the D-backs to regret their decision to intentionally walk Matt Carpenter ahead of him, Grichuk blasted a three-run homer to punctuate a five-RBI afternoon in the Cardinals' 10-4 win over the D-backs at Chase Field.
Grichuk reached base four times, none more important than when he capped a two-run rally with a 421-foot, seventh-inning home run into the left-field seats. The homer, Grichuk's third in five games since rejoining the team, erased Arizona's one-run lead.
"You don't want to go down or you don't want to sit, whatever the case is," Grichuk said. "But to come back and produce and help the team, it feels good. I'm staying with an approach and not thinking about what's coming, who's throwing, what I feel like I need to do. I'm just going up there with confidence."
That power potential continues to intrigue the Cardinals, and it's why they wanted to give Grichuk another string of consistent opportunities to show that he can be a productive everyday player. Grichuk returned from the Minors with a shortened swing, which was an unintended fruit from his work with offensive strategist George Greer.
The seed was planted in Florida, and Grichuk then found a level of comfort with his bat path when he moved on to Triple-A. He also chased himself out of his own head.
"He's in a good place," Matheny said. "I don't think that he's a guy who goes up there thinking home run. He's thinking of taking a good at-bat, staying with his approach, taking the barrel to the ball. He's sticking with his game plan, not changing his mind after the pitcher is releasing the ball."
That was the case on Thursday when, anticipating a fastball from D-backs reliever Rubby De La Rosa, Grichuk was nevertheless able to connect on a slider for his first road home run since April 11 in Washington.
Grichuk has three multi-hit games since returning and has gone deep three times in 22 at-bats. Before his late May demotion, Grichuk had four homers over 167 at-bats. He was slashing .222/.276/.377 at the time.
Grichuk was in the middle of the Cardinals' two other run-scoring innings as well on Thursday. His leadoff single ignited a two-run fourth, and he delivered a two-run double in a five-run eighth.
"I definitely took [being sent down] as a wake-up call," Grichuk said. "I said, 'Let's go, and make sure it doesn't happen again.'"
Jenifer Langosch has covered the Cardinals for MLB.com since 2012, and previously covered the Pirates from 2007-11. Follow her on Twitter, and Facebook.