Cards call up Pham, boost outfield depth

Cards call up Pham, boost outfield depth

ST. LOUIS -- Down to three true outfielders with Matt Holliday and Jon Jay on the disabled list, the Cardinals fortified their outfield depth on Friday by recalling Tommy Pham from Triple-A Memphis. Manager Mike Matheny wasted no time getting Pham involved, either, starting him in center as the No. 8 hitter in the second of four games against the Padres.

"He's the hottest bat down there, and we need a spark right now, trying to get some offense going," said Matheny, whose club has scored five runs during its current three-game losing streak. "[It's] an opportunity to get Tommy in and see if he can continue doing what he's been doing."

Since missing the first two months of the season while nursing a quad injury, Pham has hit .338 with a .402 on-base percentage and .625 slugging percentage over 24 games with Memphis. He has driven in 21 and hit five homers, and he went deep in his two previous games.

Pham's only other stint in the Majors came last September, when he was called up after rosters expanded.

"I'm overwhelmed right now," Pham said. "The whole time in rehab, I was just focusing on coming back, getting my quad 100 percent so that when I'm able to play again, I'm off to the races. The coaches in extended [spring training] did a really good job preparing me and keeping me as close to 100 percent as possible."

Pham was pushing for an Opening Day roster spot when he strained his left quad chasing down a ball in a March 13 Grapefruit League game. Pham, who was 7-for-17 and leading the team with five RBIs at the time, expected to miss only a few days.

He ended up sitting out until June as the Grade 2 strain healed.

"Fortunately, I'm healthy now," he said. "I knew if I continued to perform well, something good for me would happen. It happened sooner rather than later."

How long Pham's stay becomes will depend upon his performance and also what move the Cardinals decide to make once Holliday returns from his own quad injury. Holliday could be back on the field as early as next week.

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