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Oft-injured Tommy Pham has been placed on the disabled list with Aledmys Diaz ready to make his MLB debut

Oft-injured outfielder Tommy Pham has been placed on the disabled list with shortstop Aledmys Diaz ready to make his MLB debut.

St. Louis Cardinals press release

The St. Louis Cardinals announced today that outfielder Tommy Pham has been placed on the 15-day disabled list (left oblique strain) and that the team will recall rookie infielder Aledmys Diaz from Memphis (AAA) prior to Tuesday night’s game against the Pirates.

Diaz, 25, batted .265 (9-for-34) with 5 RBI in 15 games this spring.  The right-handed hitting Cuban native was signed by the Cardinals to a free-agent contract in March of 2014.

The 6-1, 195-pound Diaz (pronounced ah-led-mees) batted .380 with 3 home runs in 14 games at Memphis to close out the 2015 season and he posted a .315 batting average with 4 HR’s and 14 RBI in 20 games played during the Arizona Fall League season last year.

Diaz, who will be assigned uniform number 36, began the 2015 season at Springfield (AA), leading the Cardinals with 25 doubles while also batting .383 against lefties.

Brian Walton’s take

For years, it has been the same song, just a different verse. Pham makes good career progress, only to be derailed by injury. Unlike 2015, when he was hurt in spring training, he lasted less than two innings in the opening game of 2016 in his first official contest as the team’s fourth outfielder. Pham becomes the seventh member of the Cardinals to be placed on the disabled list.

While calling up a shortstop to replace an outfielder may seem odd at first blush, it balances out a transaction on Friday. When starting shortstop Ruben Tejada was hurt during Thursday’s final Grapefruit League contest, his roster replacement was a spring standout, outfielder Jeremy Hazelbaker.

Defensively, the Cardinals now lack a true centerfielder to back up starter Randal Grichuk, though Hazelbaker and starting right fielder Stephen Piscotty can play there in a pinch. If Grichuk was to go down, however, likely Charlie Tilson would get the call from Memphis.

Diaz had been considered an early contender for the starting shortstop role with St. Louis after Jhonny Peralta was injured in just his second game of the spring. However, when the veteran Tejada was signed in mid-March, the Cardinals said they preferred Diaz to play every day for Triple-A Memphis, a level at which he has just 14 games of experience.

The latest run of injuries has clearly altered those plans. It remains to be seen how much action Diaz sees at short behind Jedd Gyorko until Tejada comes off the disabled list in a few weeks, but his MLB debut definitely seems near. Diaz is The Cardinal Nation’s seventh-ranked prospect for 2016.

His new number 36 had most recently been assigned to left-handed reliever Randy Choate from 2013 through 2015.

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