During the St. Louis Cardinals annual Winter Warm-Up, it was announced that Randal Grichuk underwent surgery related to various issues in his knee.
St. Louis Cardinals outfielder Randal Grichuk now needs a little more than a month to recover from knee surgery. The surgery occurred at the end of the 2016 season and was intended to address soreness and inflammation in his left knee. According to Derrick Goold of STLToday.com, Grichuk had soreness, irritation, and a clicking that bothered him. These issues apparently started in late April.
The surgery ultimately was minor and removed loose cartilage in the left knee. The loose cartilage, hopefully, was the cause of the irritation and clicking. According to Goold, Grichuk said he doesn’t know if the soreness in his knee limited his movement in the outfield, but said it hasn’t limited his preparation for this coming season.
Despite that, one could assume that it had some effect on his performance. Cardinals Nation witnessed Grichuk’s offensive up and downs throughout the season and maybe the knee irritation played a factor. A batter’s legs are just important as their hands and for a power hitter like Grichuk, a knee injury can really hinder their performance.
Ultimately, Grichuk ended the season with 132 major league games and 23 games in Triple-A Memphis. In the major leagues he batted .240/.289/.480 which was very disappointing after batting .276/.329/.548 in 2015. However, he did tally a career high 24 home runs this year and if he can stay healthy and productive, it wouldn’t be shocking to see him exceed 30 in any given season.
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While Grichuk didn’t confirm that his knee issues altered his mobility, it wouldn’t be all that surprising if they did. In 2015, Grichuk posted a positive 5 defensive runs saved along with a positive 2.4 ultimate zone rating which earned him the starting center field spot in 2016. However in 2016, his UZR dropped to a minus-0.9 while his DRS improved to a positive 7. Grichuk’s first step and route running took an unexpected hit and his knee injury could be one of a few factors.
Regardless, Grichuk is no longer the starting center fielder. With the addition of Dexter Fowler, Grichuk has been shifted over to the left field corner and is expected to be part of one of the best defensive outfields in the game. The shift to left is also intended to relieve Grichuk of some responsibility in hopes that he can stay healthy and maintain consistency at the plate.
The St. Louis Cardinals may not have been shocked by Grichuk’s knee issues and the surgery but many fans were. Throughout the 2016 season Grichuk’s health was never brought up or at issue but now it seems maybe it was. However, the issues related to his left knee should now be resolved and everyone should expect to see him as the every day left fielder for 2017.