Padres left fielder/designated hitter Tommy Pham suffered a broken hamate bone in his hand less than a month ago, but it doesn’t appear that will bring an end to his season. Rather, the Padres could bring back Pham from the IL “any day,” Kevin Acee of the San Diego Union-Tribune writes. Pham is even closer to returning than first baseman Eric Hosmer, who landed on the IL on Sept. 8 with a fractured left index finger, according to Acee.
It had been several years since the Padres contended, but they’re in the thick of the race this season with the NL’s second-best record (31-17). The only problem is that they’re stuck in a division with the Dodgers, owners of the NL’s top win-loss mark at 33-14. A division title may be not be in the cards for the Padres, then, but they’re nonetheless a formidable team who should be able to earn a playoff spot in the next couple weeks.
Pham, whenever he returns, could be a key piece of the puzzle for San Diego as it aims for its first-ever World Series. The 32-year-old hit a subpar .207/.316/.293 in 95 plate appearances this season before going on the IL, but the Padres acquired him from the Rays last winter because of his excellent track record. Pham was quietly one of the majors’ most valuable outfielders from 2017-19, during which he slashed .284/.381/.475 with 65 homers and 65 steals over 1,754 trips to the plate between the Cardinals and Rays. If Pham’s able to come back this year, the Padres will hope he revisits his St. Louis/Tampa Bay production from the past.