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Pham misses finale with flu-like symptoms

Pitching prospect Hudson has Matheny pondering Major League role
MLB.com @JoeTrezz

MILWAUKEE -- Roughening what he called already "a tough stretch" have been the flu-like symptoms Tommy Pham has fought for the better part of the Cardinals' current road trip. On Sunday, the illness was enough to scratch him from St. Louis' lineup.

Pham was originally in his typical No. 2 spot in the order when he arrived at Miller Park for the finale of a four-game set against the Brewers, but he was removed after feeling lightheaded in the batting cage and replaced by Harrison Bader in center field.

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MILWAUKEE -- Roughening what he called already "a tough stretch" have been the flu-like symptoms Tommy Pham has fought for the better part of the Cardinals' current road trip. On Sunday, the illness was enough to scratch him from St. Louis' lineup.

Pham was originally in his typical No. 2 spot in the order when he arrived at Miller Park for the finale of a four-game set against the Brewers, but he was removed after feeling lightheaded in the batting cage and replaced by Harrison Bader in center field.

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"They just kicked me out of the cage, dead serious, because I wasn't feeling well," Pham said. "I can't go hit now."

Pham said he first became ill in Philadelphia, where the Cardinals played a three-game series before coming to Milwaukee. One night there, he slept with the air condition in his hotel room at 60 degrees and woke up with a bug.

"It was at 69 degrees and I was sweating," Pham said.

He's struggled at the plate as his health worsened in the days that followed, going 0-for-14 with eight strikeouts over his past four games. Pham has struck out in each of his last six at bats, including five straight looking.

Pham is hitting .196/.241/.373 with 17 strikeouts in his last 13 games.

"I don't think it's vision-related," said Pham, who has famously battled eye problems over his career. "There have been some tough pitches. … I feel like I'm in a tough stretch right now. Once I get my mechanics under control, I'll be all right, because I can get hot for a month."

Video: STL@PHI: Ramos K's Pham to strand a pair in the 7th

Hudson continues to make his case

Though club officials considered promoting highly-touted right-hander Dakota Hudson to start Monday against the Indians, they ultimately opted for John Gant in Michael Wacha's place. But Hudson's debut appears pegged for the immediate future, whether in the Cardinals' rotation or bullpen.

It was the club's No. 3 prospect's most recent performance that had Matheny hypothesizing how he could help in either role, a day after Hudson continued to knock on the big league door. The right-hander lowered his Pacific Coast League-leading ERA to 2.04 on Saturday night at Triple-A Memphis, allowing one run over eight innings in a 2-1 Redbirds win over New Orleans, the Marlins' affiliate.

Hudson outpitched former Cardinals top prospect Sandy Alcantara in the game and is 4-0 with a 0.64 ERA over his last four starts.

"Dakota looked like he was really good," Matheny said. "A lot of ground balls. That movement [on the sinker] is outside of ordinary. What Dakota does can be translated long term into stating, but you can also picture it as being short-term help in the bullpen. You see guys with abnormal ground-ball rates, that usually means they are having success."

The Cardinals would not need to risk losing a player to add him to the 40-man roster. Instead, they could transfer Ryan Sherriff (Tommy John surgery) or Alex Reyes (season-ending lat surgery) to the 60-day disabled list.

Joe Trezza is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter at @joetrezz.

St. Louis Cardinals, Tommy Pham