Cards' Pham again battling vision issues

Cards' Pham again battling vision issues

ST. LOUIS -- Tommy Pham, who over the last 10 days has been plagued by thumb and shoulder injuries, was out of the Cardinals' lineup on Sunday due to a recurrence of issues with his vision.

Pham has spent his professional career battling keratoconus, an eye condition that often leads to blurred vision and sensitivity to light. Seeing clearly during day games has always been challenging, but, according to manager Mike Matheny, Pham has also recently had trouble picking up the ball at night.

In the first two games of this series, Pham went 1-for-5.

"It's always an interesting dance for him to get the contacts right to where he's seeing the ball like he needs to see it," Matheny said. "If he's not, we're going to give another guy a shot."

With Pham out and Dexter Fowler sidelined by a knee injury, the Cardinals utilized an outfield of Randal Grichuk, Harrison Bader and Stephen Piscotty for Sunday's series finale against the Pirates. Various ailments have limited Pham to four starts this month.

"We're also juggling a number of outfielders here who have all been able to contribute, so whenever you sense anything off, we've got to get another guy in there," Matheny said. "Every game is our opportunity to try and keep something going."

Gyorko still healing

After testing his healing right hamstring by running the bases this weekend, Jedd Gyorko cautioned that he's going to still need some time before receiving clearance to return from the disabled list and at least pinch-hit.

While his hamstring is not a nuisance when Gyorko swings, he is still feeling discomfort coming out of the batter's box and cutting around the bases. Gyorko, who has been sidelined since Aug. 26, has not yet progressed to taking ground balls.

"We're headed in the right direction, but still not good enough to get into a game," Gyorko said. "Everything has been positive. This is just part of it. [I was] hoping to be a magic healer, which I'm apparently not yet."

The Cardinals expected Gyorko's recovery time to be about three-to-four weeks, and he's still on that schedule. They hope he might be able to contribute in a limited role a little earlier than that. Gyorko said he'll likely repeat the exercise of running the bases again on Tuesday.

"Especially with where we're at in the standings, I can't afford not to make it to first [base] or do something that could potentially cost us the game," Gyroko said. "Every game is just too important right now to be out there and have any chance of something going wrong. As much as I want to be, and of course, I think I'm capable of doing it, it'd be selfish of me to go out there just because I want to be on the field."

Worth noting

• Triple-A Memphis stayed alive in its best-of-five playoff series on Saturday by earning a come-from-behind, 11-8 win in 10 innings. Tyler O'Neill drove in two runs to put Memphis ahead in the seventh and tallied two more RBIs in the 10th.

• As part of Major League Baseball's league-wide commemoration of 9/11, the Cardinals' on-field personnel wore caps with a side patch of an American flag for Sunday's game. Special lineup cards and bases were used for the game, and a moment of silence was held.

Jenifer Langosch has covered the Cardinals for since 2012, and previously covered the Pirates from 2007-11. Read her blog, By Gosh, It's Langosch, follow her on Twitter @LangoschMLB, like her Facebook page Jenifer Langosch for and listen to her podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.