PITTSBURGH -- Jaime Garcia plans to resume his Minor League rehab assignment on Monday, manager Mike Matheny said, following a week's recovery from being hit on the left elbow by a pitch in an outing for Double-A Springfield on Sunday. Garcia will head to Triple-A Memphis for this next start.
Though Garcia had thrown only 28 pitches before being removed from his last start, the Cardinals do not expect the short start to present much of a setback with his pitch count. General manager John Mozeliak said earlier this week that Garcia would likely be able to approach 80 pitches his next time off the mound. That had been his target pitch count on Sunday.
The left-hander had his elbow examined by the Cardinals' medical staff in St. Louis the day after the plunking, but the swelling had already reduced enough within 24 hours to make an MRI unnecessary. Garcia has resumed throwing off the mound since the incident.
In his Springfield debut, Garcia allowed three hits -- including a two-run homer -- in two innings. His surgically-repaired left shoulder gave him no issues.
Cards option Grichuk to continue development
PITTSBURGH -- The Cardinals' April 28 callup of outfielder Randal Grichuk came with a dose of transparency, as the organization made it clear that if Grichuk's development became stunted because of a lack of playing time, a change would be made.
The club reached that threshold on Friday.
With manager Mike Matheny seemingly ready to give Peter Bourjos an extended chance to start in center, the Cardinals optioned Grichuk to Triple-A Memphis, where he can resume playing every day. The 22-year-old went 3-for-21 during his first stint in the Majors. Joey Butler was promoted to take Grichuk's 25-man roster spot.
"It's nice to be able to bring [Butler] up, give him an opportunity, but also to stay on course with Randal, a guy that we see a lot of bright things for in the future," Matheny said. "But he's got to play. It's just going to be hard to get him some consistent playing time here, just like it will be for Joey."
The Cardinals appear ready to change course (again) with Bourjos, who went from beginning the year as the team's everyday center fielder to a sparingly-used player off the bench by the end of the season's first month. His five-hit performance in the Cardinals' recent series win over the Braves earned Bourjos the opportunity to try and sustain some offensive momentum.
Bourjos was back in the lineup on Friday against left-hander Francisco Liriano, his third start in the last four games. How committed the Cardinals are to giving Bourjos a longer leash to prove himself will be evident in how often Matheny is willing to start him against right-handed pitchers.
"We'll see how it plays out," Matheny said when that topic was raised on Friday. "We're not going to make a statement one way or another, but we're also not going to exclude the possibility that he'll be in there [against righties]. If he has been going about it offensively and defensively like he has been, then we're not necessarily looking for home runs and three-hit games every night for us to keep him in. He's taking better at-bats."
Bourjos, batting .217/.288/.350 this season, has now started as many games in center (17) as Jon Jay. With Butler unable to play center, Jay is the only other center fielder on the roster.
"I try to be as consistent as I can," Bourjos said. "Obviously, I want to be in the lineup every day. Things haven't gone that way, but I come in with a positive attitude and go into the cage and work to get better."
Cards bring up Butler's bat from Memphis
PITTSBURGH -- Needing to add another outfielder to the roster and unwilling to interrupt the development of their top prospects in Triple-A Memphis, the Cardinals summoned right-handed-hitting Joey Butler to fill a bench spot on the Major League roster.
Butler joined the Cardinals in Pittsburgh on Friday, having earned the promotion after a torrid start with Memphis. He was ranked fifth in the Pacific Coast League with a .360 average and second with an on-base percentage of .481. Butler had 11 hits in 24 chances with runners in scoring position and four home runs, despite being a fourth outfielder on the roster.
With playing time prioritized for prospects Stephen Piscotty, Oscar Taveras and Randal Grichuk (before his stint in St. Louis), Butler started 14 games in left field and eight as a designated hitter. He was also not on the Cardinals' 40-man roster, though that was not an issue since the club was not already at its maximum.
"I was just trying to stay ready, hitting early. Just always be ready and anticipate going into the game," said Butler, who will wear No. 56. "I can only do so much. I won't be disappointed if I go out and play my hardest and it doesn't work out. Of course, I would love to stay, and the ultimate goal is to remain a Major League Baseball player. But there are some things that I can't control. I can only control what I can control. That's what I try to do."
Butler will come off the bench for the Cardinals, who are otherwise lacking a right-handed, pinch-hitting power threat. Butler's previous big league experience is minimal, though he did appear in eight games for the Rangers last season.
The Cardinals claimed Butler off waivers over the winter and kept him in big league camp until the end of Spring Training.
"I'm very excited," Butler said. "I said in Spring Training that this was one of the best groups I've been able to play with. I'm glad to be back with them."
• After taking two days off, Jason Motte made his third rehab appearance with Springfield on Friday. Motte threw 16 pitches (12 strikes) to four batters in the seventh inning of the Double-A game. He retired two, the others reaching on a single and an error.
Matheny said that Motte does not necessarily have to pitch on back-to-back days with Springfield before being deemed Major League-ready, so his callup could be imminent.
• Second baseman Kolten Wong has hit safely in five straight games for Triple-A Memphis, and he's batting .326/.356/.442 with eight runs scored in 10 games since being demoted.
• Springfield won its game on Thursday, 11-2, with a lift from Patrick Wisdom, who hit a three-run homer, and three-hit games from Cody Stanley and Jacob Wilson.
• The Cardinals' bullpen got a collective day of rest with Thursday's off-day. No one, however, is better rested than Eric Fornataro, who last pitched on April 30.
Jenifer Langosch is a reporter for MLB.com. Read her blog, By Gosh, It's Langosch, and follow her on Twitter @LangoschMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.