JUPITER, Fla. -- Three weeks removed from suffering a left quad strain that he speculated would sideline him only for a few days, outfielder Tommy Pham is now set to seek a second opinion of the diagnosis from a Dallas-area physician.
Pham will travel to Texas on Friday, just as the Major League team he had hoped to make heads north.
"It's just not improving like it should," manager Mike Matheny said. "It got to the point where he's able to do some things out here where we're seeing him run really hard, and he just needs to get some validation to what our medical staff sees."
Pham injured himself March 13 after deciding to go ahead and play despite feeling tightness in his quad before the game. He further aggravated the area trying to make a diving play and has not been seen in Grapefruit League play since. An MRI confirmed the diagnosis as a Grade 1 strain, which is why the Cardinals expected Pham to only be sidelined for a few days.
He has slowly resumed workouts and tested his leg while taking three plate appearances in a Minor League game Monday. But Pham wasn't encouraged by the progress, particularly when running.
"That's the problem," Pham said. "I could go to a certain speed, but I don't feel like I have my last gear. Some people think I can, but I don't feel like personally I can because I wouldn't feel right not getting to balls I can catch. Stealing on the basepaths, going first to home, legging out hits in the infield, I couldn't do those all the way."
The injury torpedoed Pham's chances at parlaying a strong spring start into a spot on the Cardinals' bench. He opened the Grapefruit League season with seven hits in 17 at-bats and led the club with five RBIs at the time of the injury. Had he continued playing, Pham may have challenged Randal Grichuk for the fifth outfielder job.
"It was disappointing and frustrating just because no one has seen me play on the big league coaching staff, so I was trying so hard," said Pham, whose cameo as a September callup last season included just two at-bats. "I had a whole lot of opportunity early. I was just trying to take advantage of it. I didn't really listen to my body because it was tight that day. I was playing well and I didn't want to come out."
This is just the latest in a growing list of ailments that has stalled the 27-year-old's pursuit of establishing himself in the Majors. He has previously been shut down due to issues with his shoulder, wrist and eye.