Cardinals option Pham to Memphis -

Cardinals option Pham to Memphis

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(AP Photo/Jeff Roberson, File) (AP Photo/Jeff Roberson, File)

The battle for the 25th spot on the Cardinals roster out of camp has all but officially been decided.

After posting a batting line of .209/.320/.279 in 43 at-bats, Tommy Pham’s run in big league camp this spring came to an end Saturday morning when the Cardinals announced they had optioned the 29-year-old to Class-AAA Memphis to begin the season. That leaves Jose Martinez as the likely recipient of the reserve outfielder spot when the Cardinals open the season Sunday, April 2nd against the Cubs.

Martinez went 7 for 16 in a short stint with the Cardinals last September, and has forced this unexpected course of action from the team with his stellar performance this spring. In 45 at-bats, the 28-year-old career minor leaguer has posted a line of .378/.491/.756 with eight extra-base hits, four of which have been home runs. His 13 RBIs lead the club in Grapefruit League play.

For Pham, the demotion is a crushing blow to his prospects to contribute to the Cardinals this season. That’s especially true considering the state of the roster he will be joining in Memphis, where Harrison Bader will likely be the starting center fielder most days. Pham has seemingly fallen out of favor with the Cardinals since struggling through scarce late-season appearances in 2016.

As Pham had one minor league option remaining, the Cardinals made the move to demote him, signaling another setback to the career of the athletic outfielder.

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