Pham to give Cards' extra effort in winter ball
CHICAGO -- Outfielder Tommy Pham, who has gotten his first taste of the Majors as a September callup, has committed to spending part of his offseason playing winter ball in Venezuela, the Cardinals confirmed on Tuesday. There, Pham will be able to take additional at-bats, work on his skills across the outfield and also focus on his basestealing efforts.
General manager John Mozeliak said there has been some discussion about having outfielder Randal Grichuk -- ranked by MLB.com as the Cardinals' No. 8 prospect -- play winter ball, though that decision has not yet been made. If Grichuk does decide to go, he'd most likely head to the Dominican Republic to play on the team that will be managed by Cardinals assistant hitting coach David Bell.
Some other news and notes from across the Cardinals' Minor League system:
• Outfielder C.J. McElroy has replaced Charlie Tilson on the Arizona Fall League's Peoria roster so that Tilson can take additional time to recover from a foot fracture that ended his season about a week early. Peoria opens its season on Oct. 7.
"We probably could have put our foot on the pedal and gotten him ready for this," Mozeliak said. "But medically speaking, they said we would probably be putting him at some risk, so it was probably better to shut him down."
• Infielder Mason Katz, a fourth-round pick by the Cardinals in the 2013 First-Year Player Draft, is spending part of his time in the organization's instructional league working as a catcher. Katz is not giving up his other positions (first/second base) but rather adding versatility to his skill set.
• Lefty Marco Gonzales and Bell rejoined the team on Tuesday after recovering from a stomach virus that swept through the Cardinals' clubhouse over the weekend. Manager Mike Matheny said that he has a completely healthy roster again.
• The Cardinals announced that they will roll their rotation over, in order, after the off-day on Thursday, meaning that Michael Wacha, Lance Lynn and Adam Wainwright (in that order) will start the three games against the Diamondbacks. Wacha, who will have this final start to prove himself ready to contribute in October, threw a side session at Wrigley Field on Tuesday.