Tommy Pham is back in the major leagues as Stephen Piscotty hits the DL with a hamstring injury.
The St. Louis Cardinals announced on Friday morning that they’ve placed outfielder Stephen Piscotty on the 10-day disabled list with a right hamstring strain. Piscotty suffered the injury in the Cardinals’ loss to the Milwaukee Brewers on Friday night.
To replace Piscotty on the active roster, the Cardinals recalled outfielder Tommy Pham, who has posted a .245/.333/.455 slash line with the Cardinals over the past three seasons. Pham, who has been a rather extreme example of a “three true outcomes” (home run, strikeout, or walk) player at the major-league level, has enjoyed more substantial success this season at Triple-A Memphis. In 106 plate appearances, the 29-year-old outfielder is hitting .283/.371/.500 with four homers.
It’ll be interesting to see who gets the bulk of the action in right field with Piscotty on the DL. José Martínez beat out Pham to earn a spot on the Opening Day roster, and during the early going, he was one of the Cardinals’ most effective hitters. He went 11 for his first 28 (.393) while assembling a nine-game hitting streak along the way.
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Martínez has cooled down a bit recently, though, and is just 2 for his last 13 (.154). With Pham being the better defender of the two, it seems possible that he may get more starts than Martínez. Depending on how serious Mike Matheny is about the spur-of-the-moment experiment he conducted on Thursday night, perhaps we could also see Aledmys Díaz in the outfield again with Greg Garcia at shortstop.
This will be the first disabled list stint of Piscotty’s major-league career. With the unpredictable nature of a hamstring injury, he may end up missing enough time that one will be necessary anyway, but even if his injury is a short-term one, it’ll be interesting to see if the Cardinals send him out on a rehab assignment before he returns.
It’s safe to say he hasn’t been his usual self to begin 2017; after hitting .151 with a .451 OPS during spring training, he’s posted a modest .241/.378/.380 slash line to begin the regular season. That’s solid for sure, but other than the elevated on-base percentage, it’s note quite comparable to his production during his first two major-league seasons.
Though he’s been a plus fielder during his first two seasons, Piscotty’s defense has also been suspect to begin 2017. Piscotty’s UZR (-3.2) is worst among qualified MLB right fielders during the early going according to FanGraphs.