Randal Grichuk was the 24th pick by Los Angeles Angels in 2009. An outfielder from Lamar Consolidated High School in Rosenberg, Texas, Grichuk had to endure a string of strange injuries his first two seasons and only played a combined 117 games. Last year, Grichuk was at Class A Inland Empire and batted .298 before landing with the Travelers this season.
Talk about your injuries.
In 2010, I tore a ligament in my wrist. After two and a half months, I broke my wrist diving for a ball. In 2011, I fractured my kneecap off a foul ball and was out for a month. Then I sprained my MCL. It was crazy.
So did you learn anything from being injured?
Mental toughness. Those were tough injuries and you feel like you are down and will never come back 100 percent. I had to stay focused and stay positive. You have to remember baseball is for you. I see the game in a different light and have a mental toughness. When you are injured, you think your world is going to end and never know if you’ll be healthy.
You signed for $1.24 million right out of high school. Did you think about going to college and what was your thought process?
Playing college baseball seemed like fun, but I really wanted to play pro ball. I told the Angels and a few others that if I went in the first round I would sign and not hold out for more money.
At 21 years old, what are you doing with your money?
I have a financial advisor and gave it to him. I’m pretty smart when it comes to that. My only splurge was a truck.
Did you play other sports and if so when did you know baseball was for you?
I played basketball and football in junior high. When high school came around, our coach pretty much wanted us to concentrate on baseball. Since I was three or four and have always been a Houston Astros fan, I wanted to play baseball. I knew I had a shot when my sophomore year I played with Team USA in the World Games and then college coaches and pro scouts started calling me.
They liked my bat speed because I have pop and my defensive skills. I’m better now with my arm accuracy and strength.
You were drafted ahead of Mike Trout (25th) and the two of you were friends before becoming Angel prospects. What’s your relationship like?
Good, we were buddies before we were drafted because of USA and area code games. He stayed healthy and his career took off. I’ve been on the injury and rehab table. Everything happens for a reason.
So far what’s your experience been like in Double A?
The pitching is better and there are lots of talented pitchers. They throw more off speed and breaking balls.
Finally, what are you goals for this season?
I try not to set statistical goals. I want to go out and play hard every game and have a good season. The main thing is to stay healthy and play hard for 30 games.