PEORIA, Ariz. — San Diego Padres outfielder Tommy Pham said Sunday morning that he is lucky to be alive after being stabbed in the back outside a San Diego strip club in October.
Pham, who said he’s about 80% recovered and is in the lineup for the team’s first spring training game, needed 200 stitches to close a deep wound.
“The doctor here basically told me that if I wasn’t so muscular, I might be dead or paralyzed,” Pham told reporters via Zoom. “So I’m lucky to even be able to play. I thought I wasn’t going to be able to play again.”
Pham, 32, was stabbed in the lower back during an altercation in the club’s parking lot on Oct. 11. He has sued Pacers Showgirls International for suffering “catastrophic injuries, which have and will continue to cause him significant economic damage, including but not limited to his earning capacity as an elite professional baseball player,” according to the lawsuit.
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The lawsuit alleges that Pacers employees did not contact law enforcement “or take any reasonable measures to mitigate” the dangers. The lawsuit also alleges that Pacers should have been aware of the possibility of potential violence because of past incidents with the club and taken measures to prevent it.
There have been no arrests made. Pham said the investigation is still ongoing, and he can’t comment on it.
“When I got stabbed, and I was being rushed to the hospital, I was on the phone with [GM] A.J. [Preller] and the training staff,” Pham said. “I thought I wasn’t going to be able to play.
“When I got the CT scan, the doctor said, I got great news for you: ‘You can play. It’s going to be a little bit of a recovery. …
“The way I look at it, my time wasn’t quite yet. So, God kind of has other plans for me.”
Pham, after being on bed rest, said he flew to San Francisco every week for six weeks to receive shots to help the inflammation. He has been limited in the weight room, but has been able to take batting practice most of the winter.
“I can’t squat a lot yet, or deadlift a lot because my back is not ready,” Pham said. “But you don’t have to squat and deadlift a lot to be a good baseball player.
“It’s only been about 4 ½ months, and the timeline is normally a little longer. But from a straight rotational standpoint, my numbers are pretty high compared to everything else.”
Pham said the incident hasn’t necessarily changed his perspective in life, except for perhaps living life to its fullest.
“I still look at everything about the same,” he said. “If anything, I probably would just spend more money and stop saving as much. Because if I died, I would feel like I had too much money in the bank and didn’t live enough.”
Pham, who was limited to 31 games last season because of a hand injury, hit just .211 with three homers, 12 RBI and a .624 OPS [on-base-plus-slugging percentage]. He’s a free agent after the season and realizes he needs a comeback year to be rewarded on the free-agent market.
“I feel I have the most to prove,” Pham said. “I know what I’m capable of bringing to the table with my speed and my athleticism. I know I’m being an above-average, elite player in the game.”
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