May 9: Cardinals (18-17) @ Pirates (14-20)
The Cardinals open a three-game series in Pittsburgh tonight in the final stop on this three-city road trip. Both the Cardinals and Pirates made roster moves prior to the game… though neither team pulled the trigger on calling up their stud corner outfield prospect. While Gregory Polanco remains in Indianapolis and Oscar Taveras in Memphis, Brent Morel (Pirates infielder) and Joey Butler (Cardinals outfielder) will be in uniform tonight.
Butler will wear No. 56 and takes the roster spot that had belonged to Randal Grichuk. The Cardinals were transparent when Grichuk was called up on April 28 while noting that the move could be a short-term one. If Grichuk wasn’t going to get a sufficient number of at-bats, the Cardinals did not want to stunt his development by keeping him on the big-league team.
For a while, Grichuk was taking playing time that could have gone to Peter Bourjos. However, after Bourjos’ big series in Atlanta, the Cardinals look inclined to give him a chance to play more regularly again. That made this an opportune time to send Grichuk back to Memphis, where he can play daily.
Butler, 28, isn’t in the same career place as Grichuk, making him a more suitable fit for a bench role. Butler can play either corner outfield spot, though his role here will be as a bench player/pinch-hitter. Butler was batting .360 at the time of the promotion. He played eight games with the Rangers last season.
Bourjos is in the lineup today, though that was to be expected against the lefty Francisco Liriano. This will also be Michael Wacha’s first start at PNC Park since he hushed a sellout crowd with his dominant performance in Game 4 of the National League Division Series.
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