ST. LOUIS (AP) The St. Louis Cardinals placed outfielder Randal Grichuk, among the top rookies in the National League, on the 15-day disabled list with a right elbow strain on Monday. Grichuk said he also has a low-grade ligament sprain in the elbow.
General manager John Mozeliak said Grichuk might be back in 15 or 20 days. The elbow injury is more common for pitchers, and since Grichuk wouldn't need to throw a lot and hasn't been affected hitting, Mozeliak said the team could potentially use Grichuk sooner by sending out an infielder to shorten the relay throws from the outfield.
''There are ways we can protect him,'' Mozeliak said. ''Short term, this was in his best interest to let it quiet down, and then hopefully this isn't a long stint.''
Grichuk said he had soreness throwing Saturday and believed he pulled something making a throw to the plate in the first inning Sunday.
''I made three or four more throws in the game and it kept pulling and pulling and pulling,'' Grichuk said. ''They got me out before it could get any worse than it is. Very frustrating, felt like I was swinging well, felt good at the plate.''
Mozeliak believes the Cardinals will get Grichuk, Jon Jay, Matt Adams and Matt Holliday back for at least part of September. Adams (quad) is likely leaving for Florida on Friday to begin baseball activities and could start a rehab assignment after that.
Jason Heyward was scheduled to start in center field for the first time this season against the San Francisco Giants on Monday. Rookies Stephen Piscotty, who will play right field, and Tommy Pham, recalled from Triple-A Memphis, also are options in center for the National League Central leaders.
Mozeliak also said Brandon Moss, just 5 for 34 with one RBI since being acquired at the trade deadline, would likely get more everyday playing time.
The 24-year-old Grichuk is batting .284 with 15 homers and 44 RBIs in 85 games, playing primarily center field the last month. Center fielder Jon Jay has been out most of the year with a wrist injury and is not close to returning.
Grichuk has 43 extra-base hits, most among rookies.
''We can't put him in a spot while it's flared up to the point where we thought it could cause further damage,'' manager Mike Matheny said. ''The discussion has been let's get him some rest.''
Grichuk missed time earlier this season with a back injury. Mozeliak said Grichuk's durability was a ''fair question.''
''I think overall when playing, he's a special player. Unfortunately he has missed time and he's going to miss more,'' the GM said.
The 27-year-old Pham started 10 games last month for the Cardinals. He was batting .327 at Memphis.