It involved hitting in the batting cage, off a machine, with a coach’s arm behind it to give him the timing that would come with a pitcher’s arm releasing the ball. Grichuk did all this on Saturday, wearing his new prescription athletic glasses. Grichuk, who was fitted a little more than a week ago with new eyeglasses, had endured an 0-for-16 run.
“I don’t want to make an excuse, but vision-wise with the glasses, I’m trying to get the depth perception down,” Grichuk said. “And it’s gotten better.”
But as he spoke, Grichuk tilted his head back and squeezed in eye drops — but the glasses weren’t in the way. He was wearing contact lenses — notable because the inconsistent fit of his contacts led him to try glasses. But this was a practical change.
“Day game with the sun — it’ll be tough to see in the outfield with no glasses,” Grichuk said. “It’s tough to see with sunglasses, so I couldn’t imagine without them. And I don’t know if they make flip-downs with these regular glasses.”
The un-spectacled, contact lens-wearing Grichuk ended his slump, which had reached 18 at-bats, in the seventh with a game-tying two-run single as part of the Rockies’ season-high seven-run inning.
“A lot of guys had two strikes with their base hits, and it just showed us we’re trying to get the next man up — and we’ve got confidence in the next man,” Grichuk said of the inning, which also included a two-run single from surging Yonathan Daza.
The wild game flipped in the ninth, however, as Salvador Perez’s two-run single off closer Daniel Bard helped the Royals take two of three in the series. It was the first time this season the Rockies entered the late innings with a save situation and lost the game, even though it was Bard’s second blown save.
Cruelly, the rubber game ended with Grichuk striking out against Royals closer Scott Barlow. In another bad twist, Grichuk saw a Barlow pitch as too low, but home-plate umpire Vic Carapazza saw it as the second strike. Colorado sits at .500 (17-17), but scored 27 runs in the three games with Kansas City.
But with some positive feedback from Sunday with the contacts, and after spending much of Saturday increasing his comfort with the glasses (manager Bud Black held him out of the lineup for that evening’s 10-4 victory over the Royals), Grichuk has two vision care options.
“I’ll probably try to stick with the contacts, then if it’s a windy night I’ll switch to the glasses,” Grichuk said. “Over the long haul, it’s going to be better. I can see better. Depth perception-wise it was a little funky. But if the contacts can sit well, I know over the long haul it’s going to be good.”
However his eye-care program goes forward, Grichuk, obtained from the Blue Jays in a trade during Spring Training, is confident that he will see pitches better. The slump dropped his batting average from .325 through May 5 to its current .268.
Not in the lineup on Saturday, Grichuk put in the same volume of work as on days he plays. In some ways, Grichuk found the day more productive than his normal batting practice routine.
“I jumped on the machine and swung, with the dimple balls, at some heaters and some sliders,” Grichuk said. “I think I changed a little mechanically to help make up for my eyes, maybe. So I just need to let the eye thing run its course. I’m just getting back to the swing I had, pre-glasses.”