When Tommy Pham returns, the Cardinals will examine Ruben Tejada’s play and decide whether or not he should remain with the club.

The St. Louis Cardinals will receive help when Tommy Pham comes off the disabled list later this month. On May 4th, he started his rehab assignment and now has 30 days until he must be taken of the disabled list. Pham was sent to AA Springfield on the 12th and will most likely be ready for action before June 4th. When Pham comes back to the MLB level, Manager Mike Matheny and General Manger John Mozeliak will have a tough decision on who to send down.

The Cardinals will not be willing to sacrifice a bullpen arm for another bench player because of how poorly their starting pitching has been this season. The Cardinals have not been getting many innings from their starters and will suffer from using a depleted bullpen.

The candidates to be sent down to the minors include Jedd Gyorko, Jeremy Hazelbaker, Matt Adams, and Ruben Tejada. The Cardinals have a lot of money invested in Gyorko and will not be willing to eat his salary. Matt Adams has been red hot as of late hitting .310 in his last 15 games.

Hazelbaker seems like the most feasible option for the Cardinals. First, they play the same position so the Cardinals will not be depleted anywhere on the diamond. Second, Hazelbaker is making $507,000 in 2016 which the Cardinals will have no problem eating his salary. Hazelbaker will most likely report to AAA Memphis so the Cardinals will not lose his contract either.

On the other hand, Tejada should be the unlucky victim. He’s batted .167 in his 15 games with the Cardinals. He will not report to AAA and will become a free agent but that is no problem for the Cardinals who have an influx of shortstops at the big league level. Tejada was released by the Mets earlier this season and should be dropped again by the Cardinals.

Though Hazelbaker makes more logistical sense, Tejada is the easiest choice because of his poor play thus far. Tejada has brought nothing to the table for the Cardinals and should be gone when Pham returns to the big league level.

Photo captured by Jeff Curry- USA Today Sports