The Cardinals have been hit by yet another injury. Monday morning the team placed outfielder Thomas Pham on the 15-day DL with a left oblique strain, the team announced. Infielder Aledmys Diaz was called up to fill the roster spot.
Pham started Opening Day in left field Sunday (PIT 4, STL 1), but had to leave the game in the middle of the second inning. During an in-game interview, Cardinals GM John Mozeliak said Pham first felt something during batting practice, but tried to play through it.
The Cardinals are already without shortstop Jhonny Peralta (thumb surgery), replacement shortstop Ruben Tejada (quad strain), and backup catcher Brayan Pena (knee surgery). Those are only the position player injuries. Pitchers Lance Lynn, Jordan Walden, and Mitch Harris are hurt as well.
Pham, 28, hit .268/.347/.477 (122 OPS+) with five home runs in 52 games last year. With Matt Holliday likely to spend more time at first base going forward -- Holliday started Sunday's game at first before moving to left to replace Pham -- Pham figured to see plenty of playing time this year.
With Pham out, the Cardinals will stick with Holliday in left, Randal Grichuk in center, and Stephen Piscotty in right. Rookie Jeremy Hazelbaker is the fourth outfielder, and I suppose Matt Carpenter is the emergency fifth outfielder. He's played out there before.
Oblique strains can be very tricky. They're very easy to reaggravate if they aren't allowed to heal fully. St. Louis could look to bring in someone like Will Venable or Michael Bourn, both of whom were recently released, as a stopgap outfield option for the meantime.