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Grichuk returns after recovering from back strain

Cardinals send Scruggs to Triple-A to make room on roster for outfielder
MLB.com @LangoschMLB

ST. LOUIS -- Following a 27-game absence due to lower back strain, outfielder Randal Grichuk was activated from the 15-day disabled list prior to Saturday's 4-3 loss to the Tigers and was immediately inserted into the lineup's leadoff spot against Detroit lefty David Price. Grichuk went 2-for-4 with a double and a walk in his first game back.

To create roster space for him, the Cardinals optioned first baseman Xavier Scruggs to Triple-A Memphis following his three-day stint in the Majors. In sending out Scruggs, the Cardinals retain an eight-man bullpen, something manager Mike Matheny has grown to prefer during the team's ongoing stretch of 36 games in 37 days.

Full Game Coverage

ST. LOUIS -- Following a 27-game absence due to lower back strain, outfielder Randal Grichuk was activated from the 15-day disabled list prior to Saturday's 4-3 loss to the Tigers and was immediately inserted into the lineup's leadoff spot against Detroit lefty David Price. Grichuk went 2-for-4 with a double and a walk in his first game back.

To create roster space for him, the Cardinals optioned first baseman Xavier Scruggs to Triple-A Memphis following his three-day stint in the Majors. In sending out Scruggs, the Cardinals retain an eight-man bullpen, something manager Mike Matheny has grown to prefer during the team's ongoing stretch of 36 games in 37 days.

Full Game Coverage

"It's part of the demands of the season," Matheny said. "We have these long stretches where we do need, in my opinion, as many arms as we can get. We've played short on the bench and we've been OK in that regard. More importantly, now we have enough arms."

Grichuk had been sidelined since April 17, which is when he sustained the back injury while squatting a weight during a pregame workout. The injury was similar to the one Grichuk had in Spring Training, though the first back issue was not as serious.

Grichuk left the club last week to report to extended spring training, where he began playing in games on Monday. He played in three and homered in his final one on Friday before hopping a flight to St. Louis.

"The process went a little faster than expected," Grichuk said. "I felt good down there, but obviously the pitching down there is nowhere near the level of up here. But hopefully, I'll take that confidence into [Saturday's] game and see what happens."

Video: STL@CIN: Grichuk clubs two-run homer to left-center

Grichuk started in right field on Saturday, but with center fielder Jon Jay also on the DL, he is also likely to get some time in center. Grichuk was 2-for-10 with a homer before the injury. His return gives the Cardinals another right-handed power bat off the bench.

"Whether he's starting or whether he's on the bench, he's a force," Matheny said. "We like everything we've seen this year when he's been healthy, and unfortunately, that back injury set him back a lot further than we thought it would. But once again, especially with a young player, we try and be overly cautious and figure out a way to give them every chance to not just get past whatever injury it is, but stabilize the rest of their body to keep it from happening again."

Jenifer Langosch is a reporter for MLB.com. Read her blog, By Gosh, It's Langosch, follow her on Twitter @LangoschMLB, like her Facebook page Jenifer Langosch for Cardinals.com and listen to her podcast.

 

St. Louis Cardinals, Randal Grichuk, Xavier Scruggs