ARIZONA DIAMONDBACKS

Diamondbacks OF Randal Grichuk on recent skid: ‘We’re right there’

Apr 9, 2024, 5:23 PM | Updated: 6:06 pm

Randal Grichuk...

Arizona Diamondbacks' Randal Grichuk follows the flight of his sacrifice fly to drive in a run off Colorado Rockies pitcher Kyle Freeland in the fourth inning of a baseball game Monday, April 8, 2024, in Denver. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)

(AP Photo/David Zalubowski)

Outfielder Randal Grichuk was impressed watching the Arizona Diamondbacks overcome the odds in the postseason last October, seeing the local buzz while living in the Valley. It was something he wanted to be a part of when picking teams this offseason.

Despite Arizona’s early problems leading to a five-game losing streak, this season is not yet two weeks old and Grichuk has maintained a level head.

“The ups and the downs are going to happen,” Grichuk told Arizona Sports’ Burns & Gambo on Tuesday. “If this happened in July when we’re 10-15 games over .500, I don’t think anybody would really freak out about it. It’s that it’s early on.

“But then if you look back at the games, we’ve been in every game and winning in almost every game … There’s gonna be times starting pitching is going to be elite and the bullpen is going to be elite and our hitters aren’t going to hit and flip that … Unfortunately, it’s happening this early that kind of makes people overly panic. But the fact that we’ve been in these games — the Yankees are a heck of a team, Atlanta is a heck of a team — and probably should have won both series gives us a lot of good feelings knowing that we’re right there.”

 

The high leverage execution from both the offense (3 wRC+) and pitching staff (13.50 ERA) has been lacking through the team’s first 11 games. Injuries have played a role with a growing number of key contributors on the injured list, most recently shortstop Geraldo Perdomo.

The D-backs needed to battle adversity last season before going on their run, and Grichuk saw signing with them as an opportunity to contribute to a team looking to take another step.

He admired Arizona from across the diamond as a member of the Rockies from 2022-23.

“They play the game hard, run out ground balls, go first to third, they play the game the right way, do the little things,” Grichuk said. “I came up with St. Louis and that’s what they ingrained in me, play the game the right way, take care of the baseball, do the little things and that equates to winning ballgames.”

Grichuk started Tuesday’s game in Colorado in right field and blasted his first home run with the Diamondbacks in the second inning.

Randal Grichuk was not up for a DH-only job

Grichuk was hesitant to join the Diamondbacks this offseason while looking for the right role.

“Initially when we first started talking, we kind of got the idea that I was going to be mainly a (designated hitter),” Grichuk said.

Grichuk is 32 and believes he had turned a corner defensively last year. The veteran wanted a chance to show that, and once he received clarity from the Diamondbacks, the choice became clear. Grichuk agreed to a one-year, $2 million deal with a mutual option for 2025.

“I was a good outfielder early in my career,” Grichuk said. “I had injuries and came to Colorado and had a tough couple years defensively. I got traded last year at the deadline and cleaned up some stuff, pre-pitch setups and just outfield work in general. I went from a below average outfielder in Colorado to an above average outfielder in Anaheim. I felt like that’s who I am, that’s who I should be.”

That commitment from the organization was clear in his handling to start the season on the 10-day injured list as he continued to work his way back from ankle surgery.

Manager Torey Lovullo said Grichuk could have been the DH on Opening Day, but it was beneficial for both the player and team to have him a full strength and available to field. That need became more prevalent when center fielder Alek Thomas suffered a strained hamstring during the fourth game of the year.

Almost a Wildcat

Grichuk committed to the University of Arizona but never attended. The Angels picked him in the first round of the 2009 MLB Draft — famously one selection ahead of Mike Trout — and the Rosenburg, Texas, native signed to become a pro.

It took him 13 years to become an Angel — he was traded before making his debut and returned to Anaheim in a deadline deal last season — and finally he gets to make his mark playing for an Arizona team.

“I was just a boy from Texas trying to play baseball at the next level,” Grichuk said. “Luckily I had a few colleges calling and Arizona being one of them, they recruited me pretty heavily early on. I took a visit out to Tucson and fell in love with the campus and the program at the time was elite. … I was gonna be in Arizona at some point somehow.”

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