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Cardinals beat Cubs with center fielder who couldn’t throw

In an effort to get a stronger bat in the lineup, Cardinals manager Mike Matheny opted to play Randal Grichuk in center field on Wednesday against the Cubs. The only problem: Grichuk just came off the DL with an elbow injury and couldn’t throw.

Matheny told MLB:

“We walked through every potential scenario that could possibly happen and told him exactly what his expectation is. We told the other players too what the expectation is, and he understands. That was the only way this will work, and it’s the only way it’s an option. He gets it and … he’s concerned enough, too, to make sure he doesn’t do anything that sets himself back.”

The strategy seemed to backfire in the first inning when Chris Coghlan scored from first base on an Anthony Rizzo double to center.

Cards’ right fielder Jason Heyward told MLB:

“When teams see that, they’re going to run. I haven’t done that before. I don’t think I’ve seen it the whole time playing baseball — from five until now.”

Grichuk, a candidate for Rookie of the Year, went 0-for-4 and struck out three times, but the Cardinals defeated the Cubs 4-3.