St. Louis Cardinals' outfielder Stephen Piscotty is growing closer to a return from the disabled list, as he is expected to begin a rehab assignment early this week and possibly rejoin the big-league squad by the weekend.
Entering his second full season in the majors and third overall, Piscotty strained his right hamstring while legging out a grounder in a game on May 4, and the Cardinals wasted little time getting him on the 10-day disabled list following post-game medical tests.
After about a week off — and not traveling with the team on its recent six-game, two-city roadtrip (May 5-10, through Atlanta and Miami) — Piscotty resumed baseball activities over the weekend, particularly baserunning. With no setbacks, Piscotty is slated to start a rehab stint with the Double-A Springfield Cardinals on Monday, and, if everything progresses smoothly, there’s a chance he could be activated by the club’s series with the San Francisco Giants that begins on May 19.
Following a subpar spring, Piscotty had yet to begin firing on all cylinders through the first month of 2017, batting just .229 with six extra-base hits and fifteen punchouts in April. Coming off a .273 average, 35 doubles, 22 homers, and 85 runs batted in a year ago, the Cardinals certainly miss that degree of offensive production from Piscotty, who they signed to a six-year contract extension early in the season.
Nonetheless, the club is getting that level of input from his current roster replacement, as well as the fill-in player for another injured outfielder.
A typical situation, given the team’s depth, the Cardinals aren’t in extreme anguish to get Piscotty back to the Majors — or fellow outfielder Jose Martinez, for that matter. With Piscotty and Martinez both on the shelf, the team promoted two outfielders — Tommy Pham and Magneuris Sierra — to the 25-man roster to take their respective places. So far, Pham and Sierra are picking up more than the slack created by Piscotty and Martinez’s injuries.
Since being recalled, Pham has boasted a .387/.486/.806 slashline across 37 plate appearances over eight games, weighted by seven extra-base hits, including three home-runs. Drafted by the organization in 2006, the 29-year-old Pham is doing everything he can to ensure a trip back to Triple-A isn’t in the cards once Piscotty and Martinez nurse back to health.
The 21-year-old Sierra got the call from High-A ball to join the Cardinals and has done nothing but dazzle since debuting on May 7. In 20 at-bats, the speedy, left-handed-hitting Sierra has batted .400 and already scored seven runs, using his quickness and keen baserunning to put himself in the best position to score.
Given that seniority usually rules on this team, it seems likely that Sierra will be sent down to accommodate Piscotty’s return that may happen within the next five days as he kicks off his in-game rehab at the start of the week.