San Diego Padres outfielder Tommy Pham will be sidelined for more than a month after suffering a broken hamate bone in his right hand.
Pham, who the Padres acquired in a blockbuster trade this offseason, was one of the team’s bright stars. Now, the club will be forced to play without him for the foreseeable future with an injury that will hurt their postseason chances.
Latest on Tommy Pham’s injury
The 32-year-old outfielder exited Sunday’s game against the Arizona Diamondbacks due to discomfort in his right hand. San Diego would lose the game and get swept in the series, but things only got worse on Monday.
After further evaluation, tests determined that he broke the hamate bone in his hand. The injury, which is common among baseball players, is expected to sideline him between four-to-six weeks.
In the best-case scenario, Pham likely wouldn’t return to San Diego’s lineup until the end of the regular season. By then, the club could already be far back in the NL West behind the Los Angeles Dodgers and Colorado Rockies.
Fortunately, MLB’s playoff expansion should keep the Padres in contention. With eight teams making the playoffs in each league, the team just needs to stay afloat for a few weeks to remain within striking distance of a wild-card spot.
Even after returning from a broken hamate bone, it can take hitters time to regain their power. While that’s not Pham’s primary tool, he hit 21 home runs last season with the Tampa Bay Rays.
The Padres promoted Josh Naylor to take Pham’s spot on the active roster. With the star outfielder sidelined, San Diego will likely give more at-bats to Naylor and Edward Olivares moving forward.
Heading into Monday’s action, the Padres are fourth in the NL West behind the Dodgers, Rockies and Diamondbacks. While San Diego (11-12) has played far more games than the St. Louis Cardinals (4-4), they sit just behind them for the final wild-card spot.