Injured Pham running out of time to secure bench job

Hampered by lingering quad strain, Cards OF cleared for workouts but not all activities

Injured Pham running out of time to secure bench job

JUPITER, Fla. -- A left quad strain that Tommy Pham had hoped would sideline him for only a few days has seemingly derailed his chances at winning a bench spot on the Cardinals' Opening Day roster.

Officially, Pham is one of the 38 players remaining in Major League camp. But he hasn't been on the field since March 13 and remains limited in what he can do because of continued discomfort. The Cardinals haven't ruled out seeing Pham in a Grapefruit League game before the club breaks camp next Thursday, but there isn't the volume of opportunities necessary for the outfielder to play his way onto the Major League club.

"Bad timing," manager Mike Matheny said on Wednesday.

Tommy Pham on quad injury

It's a disappointing development for Pham, whose career has long been stalled by injuries. Seeking to prove himself beyond all that, Pham opened Grapefruit League play strong. He was 7-for-17 with a team-best five RBIs when he hobbled off the field after trying to make a diving catch.

Pham, ranked by MLB.com as the Cardinals' No. 20 prospect, has slowly resumed participation in team workouts, but he has not garnered clearance to do everything.

"[The medical staff] still has got reservations with him," Matheny said. "He says he's still feeling something, so we have to go slow. I don't think he's that far away. It's just another hurdle or so to get past."

Pham's sac fly

This was the first time Pham had entered Spring Training with a realistic shot at breaking camp with the big league club. He made his Major League debut in 2014 after parts of nine seasons in the Minors, where he dealt with Keratoconus, an eye condition that causes visual distortion, as well as wrist and shoulder injuries.

With Pham fading from the bench competition, the Cardinals seem to have three candidates -- Peter Bourjos, Randal Grichuk and Ty Kelly -- vying for the final two position player roster spots. That is assuming that Mark Reynolds, Tony Cruz and Pete Kozma have already secured jobs.

Jenifer Langosch is a reporter for MLB.com. Read her blog, By Gosh, It's Langosch, follow her on Twitter @LangoschMLB and like her Facebook page Jenifer Langosch for Cardinals.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.