Cards weigh Grichuk as option in center
Outfielder's throwing issues may keep him in corner spot
ATLANTA -- The Cardinals' already complicated center-field situation may become even more so as the team weighs the viability of Randal Grichuk as an option at that position.
Manager Mike Matheny acknowledged Saturday that playing Grichuk in center field "might be a bit of a push with his limited ability to throw still." While Grichuk, still working his way back to full strength after a mid-August shutdown related to a right elbow injury, has been throwing from a distance of 150 feet during pregame work, he is not yet entirely uninhibited.
Those limitations, Matheny said, make him a more practical option for a corner outfield spot.
"And depending on how this roster develops, I think we have coverage," Matheny added. "He doesn't necessarily need to be a center fielder."
Even with Matt Holliday and Jason Heyward entrenched as everyday players, the Cardinals can start Grichuk in the postseason by putting him in right field and shuffling Heyward to center. On days when Grichuk is not in the lineup, the Cardinals may still start Heyward in center to open a corner outfield spot for Stephen Piscotty, who otherwise will play first base.
The Cardinals have other center-field options in Jon Jay, Tommy Pham and Peter Bourjos, though it's likely only one of those three is added to the postseason roster.
"It's going to be something that we continue to watch and see how it develops," Matheny said. "It's too early to predict what that looks like. We just throw guys out there, see what it looks like and make adjustments as we have to without it being some preconceived idea."
• Piscotty, who suffered a mild concussion during a collision Monday, was scheduled to meet with an Atlanta doctor on Saturday for an additional exam. If he passes that, the results would be sent to Major League Baseball, which would then have to give clearance for Piscotty to return to the field. The Cardinals were unsure if that would happen before first pitch Saturday.
• Matheny is using this weekend to rest serval regulars, but getting Jhonny Peralta some time off is among his biggest priorities. Peralta, who has just six extra-base hits in his past 54 games, may not play at all against the Braves.
• Catcher Yadier Molina is scheduled for a follow-up consultation with the doctor Monday to determine how much his left thumb ligament has healed. Molina has refrained from participating in baseball activities since the Sept. 20 injury, but has continued to engage in his normal conditioning work.