Tommy Pham debuts for White Sox, who snap 7-game skid

CHICAGO -- Outfielder Tommy Pham is back in the major leagues, joining the MLB-worst Chicago White Sox ahead of its 9-4 series-opening win against the Tampa Bay Rays on Friday night.

The 36-year-old Pham started in center field and had two singles in his White Sox debut after being recalled from Triple-A Charlotte. The 36-year-old had signed a minor league deal on April 16, then went to the minors for four games to ramp up. He hit .294 with an RBI in four games for Charlotte.

Chicago improved to 4-22 -- still the worst start in franchise history -- with Friday's win, which snapped a seven-game skid. The White Sox had matched Cincinnati in 2022, Detroit in 2003 and Washington in 1894 as teams that opened the season with three wins in 25 games. Baltimore began 2-23 in 1988.

Pham hit .256 with 16 homers and 68 RBI in 129 games last season. He was traded from the New York Mets to Arizona on Aug. 1 and then helped the Diamondbacks make a surprising run to the World Series.

He hit .279 with three homers and four RBI in 16 postseason games in 2023.

"I look at it as a blessing and as an opportunity to show the work I put in in the offseason," said Pham, entering his 11th major league season with his eighth team. "I lost some weight to be more athletic and I'm excited for the opportunity."

Manager Pedro Grifol said Pham will be able to help fill a gap in center for now. All-Star Luis Robert, Jr. played in just seven games before suffering a right hip flexor strain that was expected to keep him out of the lineup for six to eight weeks.

The White Sox also recalled outfielder Rafael Ortega from Charlotte, while optioning outfielder Dominic Fletcher. Chicago designated left-hander Bailey Horn and outfielder Kevin Pillar for assignment.

Pham was selected by St. Louis in the 16th round of the 2006 amateur draft. He broke into the majors with the Cardinals in 2014.

Pham is a .259 hitter with 130 homers and 431 RBI over 10 seasons in the majors, also playing for Tampa Bay, San Diego, Cincinnati and Boston.

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.