Cardinals shuffle extra outfielders: Grichuk down, Butler up

Joey Butler fits the profile of a backup outfielder at the big-league level.

Scott Rovak/Scott Rovak-USA TODAY Sports

ST. LOUIS — Tapping their organizational depth again, the Cardinals promoted an outfielder from Class AAA Memphis on Friday morning.

But the wait for Oscar Taveras continues.

The Cardinals called up hot-hitting Joey Butler from Memphis and sent Randal Grichuk back to the Redbirds, the club announced.

The move will allow Grichuk to return to playing regularly and leave the Cardinals with only two center fielders, opening up more playing time for Peter Bourjos and Jon Jay. Bourjos showed signs of emerging from an early-season funk with five hits in eight at-bats when given two starts in Atlanta.

Butler, 28 and a veteran of seven minor-league seasons, better fits the profile of a backup outfielder at the big-league level. He has far more experience than the club’s top outfield prospects, Taveras and Stephen Piscotty. Both players are hitting well and benefiting from playing regularly for Memphis.

They likely will get a chance soon enough if the Cardinals’ offense continues to show inconsistency, but if Bourjos has found his stroke and Allen Craig gets going, the youngsters will continue to accumulate needed at-bats in the minors and Butler can provide a power boost off the bench.

Butler was claimed off waivers from the Rangers’ organization last fall. He reached the majors for the first time last season, going 4 for 12 with three walks in two brief call-ups.

Listed at 6-foot-2, 220 pounds, Butler was drafted in the 15th round in 2008 out of the University of New Orleans. He has spent seven seasons in the minors, making 3,142 plate appearances with a .293 batting average and .379 OBP. He hit 20 homers for Round Rock in 2012, his best power showing.

Grichuk went 3 for 22 and appeared in nine games in his first call-up to the big leagues.

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