The first game of the baseball season reinforced many of Cardinals' fans worst fears. Concerned about the offense? The team scored just one run. Adam Wainwright? He was not sharp and left his cutter up. First base production? Matt Adams and Brandon Moss were 0-5 with three strikeouts. The new young core? Randal Grichuk, Stephen Piscotty, and Kolten Wong combined to go 1-10 with seven strikeouts. Injuries? Tommy Pham left the game with left oblique tightness and the team announced that he will hit the disabled list with Aledmys Diaz earning the call.
Pham has had his career repeatedly held back to a wide variety of seemingly unrelated injuries. He was finally healthy last season for the Cardinals and he played very well in his brief time in the majors. With Matt Holliday's shift to first base, Pham was in line for a lot of playing time this season. Bad luck continued to strike Pham and the Cardinals. After injuries in consecutive days to Jordan Walden, Ruben Tejada, and Brayan Pena, Pham kept the streak alive when he exited the game yesterday.
Ben Frederickson listed Pham's maladies in his piece on Pham's history:
The broken wrist in 2010. The torn wrist ligament in 2011. The torn labrum in 2012. The other torn labrum in 2013. The torn quadriceps that derailed an impressive spring training in 2015. And through it all, his ups and downs with Keratoconus, an eye disorder that affects his ability to track the ball, and results in Pham changing contact lenses as often as he changes his socks.
We do not yet know how long Pham will be out, but obliques can be tricky. The Cardinals still have a wide range of options in the outfield with Matt Holliday and Brandon Moss each with considerable experience out there to add to the inexperience of Jeremy Hazelbaker, who got his first taste of the big leagues with a strikeout against tough lefty Tony Watson.
The Cardinals will not be calling up another outfielder to replace Pham, instead opting for infielder Aledmys Diaz. If not for Ruben Tejada's signing, Diaz likely would have been on the team already. If not for Tejada's subsequent injury, Diaz would likely still be in the minors. When Diaz went down to the minors, it was with the idea of getting Diaz everyday playing time to continue his development. Whether he gets a lot of playing time and pushes Jedd Gyorko back to super-utility remains to be seen.