Cardinals Call Up Nick Greenwood, Option Randal Grichuk


The St. Louis Cardinals made a roster move Sunday, optioning outfielder Randal Grichuk to Triple-A Memphis and purchasing the contract of lefthanded pitcher Nick Greenwood from Memphis.

Greenwood will provide the Cards with extra cushion in the bullpen when righty Carlos Martinez temporarily moves out of the ‘pen Monday to make a spot start in place of Adam Wainwright. Since the most that Martinez has thrown this season is 2.2 innings, he likely won’t have a lot of stamina built up, so it’s good to have extra protection for him. Greenwood has thrown 41.1 innings in 22 Triple-A appearances this year, so it’s clear that he has the ability to go multiple innings.

The 26-year-old Greenwood, who came to the Cardinals as part of the Ryan Ludwick for Jake Westbrook trade in 2010, has experienced success so far this year, putting together a 2.61 ERA and an 0.96 WHIP. However, he’s not a guy who is cut out for a lefty specialist role; in 12.2 innings against lefthanded hitters, he has a 4.26 ERA. Against righties, meanwhile, he has a 1.88 mark.

Grichuk goes back to Memphis in a move that makes a whole lot of sense. The Cardinals weren’t willing to keep soon-to-be 22-year-old Oscar Taveras in the majors for fear that he wouldn’t get enough playing time, so it didn’t really seem logical that the 22-year-old Grichuk, who has less Triple-A experience than Taveras, was sticking around on the big-league roster while receiving even less playing time than Taveras.

While Grichuk has a good shot at being the Cardinals’ center fielder of the future, they clearly weren’t ready to move away from the platoon of Jon Jay and Peter Bourjos just yet. During his second stint of the year with the big-league club, Grichuk was active for 14 games but received just 19 at-bats. He hasn’t shown the ability to contribute off the bench, as his only three hits during this stint came in games that he started. He seemed to really struggle to get into a rhythm, too, and his big-league batting average is now down to an unappealing .136 through his first 44 at-bats.

It wouldn’t be surprising if the Cardinals brought back veteran outfielder Shane Robinson once Greenwood has served his purpose. Until then, third baseman Matt Carpenter is probably the emergency fifth outfielder should the Cardinals need one.