Besides making a bigger contribution with his play on the field during this past season, Randal Grichuk is now looking to extend his impact off of it.
The Cardinals outfielder has stepped up his game trying to make a difference in St. Louis–approaching the team about how he could get involved with Operation Food Search this holiday season.
“We kind of just kind of talked about what kind of platform I’m on being able to play for the Cardinals,” said Grichuk, who talked the idea over with family and friends back home about trying to make a positive influence. “We knew Adam Wainwright supported them with his fantasy football event and thought this was a way I could help out the community.”
Now through Christmas, for each donation of $35, $50, or $100 made online at http://weblink.donorperfect.com/grichgives children will receive food and nutrition from Operation Food Search. At the same time, donors will be entered into a drawing to receive prizes ranging from game used bats by Grichuk, to Cardinals Winter Warm-Up passes, to a meet and greet with the outfielder after a backstage tour of the event.
“Hopefully, we can have a bunch of people donate $1oo and have a chance to win that, I’m looking forward to it,” said Grichuk.
ARM-STRENGTH ON TRACK
As for his preparation for next year, Randal Grichuk is confident the elbow ligament strain which put him the disabled list is well on the path to recovery.
“It feels great,” said Grichuk of his arm. “Got looked at by the training staff before I left for the off-season. Felt good then. I was excited–I kind of was shocked. You have an arm injury like that and you don’t know how fast it will come back or if it will come back. It came back very well–I felt good there at the end of the year for the playoffs.
“This off-season, I’ve kind of rested it throwing-wise. I haven’t touched a baseball. I’ve been working out, staying on top of my elbow and shoulder program. Strengthen that and it’s a normal offseason and I’ll be ready to go with no restrictions for Spring Training.”
During the playoffs, Grichuk expressed the ability to throw the ball at least 200 feet but had not yet fully turned it loose. And while that still technically holds true, he did give it a pretty substantial test.
“Well, I never really let it fly distance wise but I don’t know if you recall–we were in Chicago last game and I think Schwarber hit the ball up the middle,” explained Grichuk. “I think Castro kind of rounded second pretty hard like he was gonna go to third so I kind of threw it in. I kind of aired it out throwing it when I threw it in to Jhonny, as he was cutting it off from third. It felt good. The situation, last game of the year–you’re down, you’re not really thinking about the arm injury. I let it fly and a couple of pitches later, it didn’t bother me. All right let’s go, that’s a good sign. And then with the rest I’ve been able to do this off-season, I feel like it’s going to heal up properly and be ready to go.”
Grichuk has yet to fully work out the details and start date of his throwing program with trainer Adam Olsen, but the two have spoken as recently as last week and it’s expected he’ll begin throwing by late December.
HEYWARD AND FOOTBALL
Besides his training and focusing on “Fill A Kid’s Plate”, Randal Grichuk has also made a point to enjoy this offseason–especially with watching his Houston Cougars football team, which is where he was leaving at the time of his interview with St. Louis Baseball Weekly.
“They just beat Navy for our side of the conference to win it,” beamed Grichuk. “I started going to U of H baseball games, and football games, and basketball games growing up when I was young and kind of stuck with them. Pretty excited how they’re having such a great year this year and got a chance to go out to a few games.”
The football continues as he’ll meet teammate Stephen Piscotty to take in Texas A&M-LSU game in Baton Rouge on Saturday and is also in regular contact with Matt Adams, Greg Garcia, and Sam Tuivailala among other teammates. And while he hasn’t talked business, he has also communicated with Jason Heyward.
“I think we did enough recruiting throughout the year,” laughed Grichuk, who has purposely not pestered Heyward. “We expressed to him how much we wanted to keep him and how well he fit in as a group. I think he knows the Cardinals tradition and what we’re all about–I think he liked it, it just a mater of I guess it comes down to the business side of it and the dollars.”
Last year, the acquisition of Heyward by the Cardinals served as motivation for Grichuk. This year, while he welcomes and hopes Heyward returns to the team, he’s keeping much the same mindset.
“I feel like I’m in the same situation,” said Grichuk. “Obviously, we don’t know what’s going to happen with Jason. We got a lot of great guys–we’ve got Piscotty, who came up and did well. Tommy Pham came up and did well. We’ve still got Jon Jay. Bourjos. We’ve got a lot of good guys fighting for only a couple of spots with Holliday out there. You can’t rest on anything. You’ve got to work out hard and act like you’ve got to win the job. There’s no job given out already. Definitely out here in Texas working hard and attending some football games while I’m here.”
photo credit: Scott Kane, David Kohl-USA TODAY Sports