JUPITER, Fla. -- After exiting the Cardinals' 6-3 loss to the Marlins with a strained left quad Friday, outfielder Tommy Pham expressed optimism that he'd be sidelined only a few days and relief that this wasn't going to lengthen the injury list that has repeatedly stalled his career climb.
Pham started for the Cardinals in left field despite, as he acknowledged afterward, his quadriceps muscles feeling "a little tighter than usual." Pham said he planned to get through the appearance and then soak in a cold tub to alleviate that tightness afterward. As it was, he made it to the tub earlier than intended as his acceleration toward a ball Reid Brignac hit toward the left-field corner further aggravated his upper leg.
"I felt it kind of pop as I was running, before I dove," Pham said. "If I didn't have the [tightness], I probably would have caught it. I had a good jump, a good read. It's been hard for me to get reads here in Spring Training with the background, but I had a good read today. I was just accelerating, and that's when I felt it."
The ball got past Pham for a bases-clearing triple. After the play, Pham moved gingerly back to his position. He then limped off the field after a visit from the trainer. He went through a round of tests, after which the training staff informed him that he'd likely only be sidelined a few days.
"I don't know if you call this an injury," Pham said. "I don't think that's the right term because everybody gets stuff like this in Spring Training just because you're getting used to being acclimated to the games again."
Pham hopes not to be slowed down for long, as he is in the midst of a strong spring showing as he competes for a Major League bench job. He opened Grapefruit League play 7-for-17 and entered Friday tied for the team lead with five RBIs.
This is the first time Pham has entered Spring Training with a realistic shot at breaking camp with the big league club. Though he has been in the organization for 10 years, various injuries have interrupted Pham's career. He was diagnosed with Keratoconus, an eye condition that causes visual distortion, in 2008 and later dealt with wrist and shoulder issues.
As a healthy everyday outfielder in Triple-A Memphis last season, Pham hit .324/.395/.491 over 104 games.