Yesterday morning, the Cardinals announced that outfielder Tommy Pham has been placed on the 15-day DL with a left oblique strain.
Right now, the Cardinals just can’t catch a break and it seems as if they’re adding a new player to the DL each day. With Pham, there are now 7 players on the DL. In response, shortstop Aledmys Diaz, who was one of the final cuts of Spring Training, has been called up from Triple-A Memphis.
This injury to Pham is certainly a disappointing one. Pham is a player who has shown great potential throughout his career; however, he has an injury plagued history and it seems as if he always has an unfortunate injury right when his number is called upon. He broke his wrist in 2010, tore a ligament in his wrist in 2011, tore a labrum in 2012, tore his other labrum in 2013, and tore quadriceps in 2015. Yeah, unlucky may be an understatement.
Last year, in 52 games, Pham batted a respectable .263 with 5 home runs for the Cardinals. This spring, Pham hit .270 and looked very comfortable manning left field as well as center.
BenFred: Pham’s battle against his own body continues https://t.co/C5ODBpMRik
— STLToday Sports News (@STL_SportsNews) April 4, 2016
On Opening Day, the Cardinals sent out a lineup that placed Matt Holliday at first base and Pham in left field. Because Pham possesses elite speed that would help the Cardinals out in a stadium with a spacious outfield like PNC Park, the home of the Pittsburgh Pirates, the team has experimented with Holliday playing first base. However, that experiment only lasted twoish innings as Pham was pulled from the game after experiencing tightness in his rib area. In warmups, he notified team trainers of the tightness and he felt the tightness after making a throw in the game.
Where do the Cardinals go now? Well, the Cardinals go back to their original plan with Holliday in left and Matt Adams at first base. They lose a more consistent bat in their lineup in Pham over Adams and they lose some speed in the outfield in Pham over Holliday. Adams went 0-4 after being inserted into the game for the injured Pham on Opening Day. There was also a ball hit into the gap that Pham might have been able to track down, but with Holliday’s speed and misplay, the hit resulted in a triple that led to the first run of the game for the Pirates.
The Cardinals should be fine managing this injury as Pham wasn’t part of the core of the team that includes Yadier Molina, Holliday, Matt Carpenter, Stephen Piscotty, and Randal Grichuk. However, now, all the role players like Adams will have to step up to make up for the brief loss of Pham. If all goes as plan, Pham will be ready to go at the end of the 15 days and the Cardinals can go back with Holliday at first base. The Cards have been used to dealing with injuries the last couple of years. They will be just fine.