Wednesday | December 13, 2017
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MLB: Wong lands back on the disabled list

It started last week in Peoria, where Cardinals second baseman Kolten Wong, rehabbing a left elbow strain, felt something amiss in his right arm. Wong came out of that game for precautionary reasons but a couple of days later was back in St. Louis, where he immediately started a hitting streak of six games after coming off the disabled list.

But, Wong, after singling in his first at-bat on Wednesday, raising his average to .301 , the first time in a long time he has been at that level, tried to check his swing in his next at-bat. Not only was strike three called — “I didn’t even argue,” he said — but, a few moments later while in the field, he felt a sharper pain in his right arm and had to exit the game.

An examination on Thursday found a strain in the triceps and Wong for the second time in three weeks is back on the disabled list, replaced by Paul DeJong.

DeJong, who just was returned to Class AAA Memphis on Monday, was recalled after hitting two home runs in the two games he played there.

Wong said, “I’ve been battling this since Peoria. I thought eventually it would go away. It didn’t seem like anything of concern until last night and the checked swing. I tried to turn a double play in the next inning and there was just a super sharp pain and I knew something was up.

“It hurt so bad when I threw that ball. That was one of the sharpest pains I’ve felt in a while. I felt like I threw a changeup, almost.”

When he hurt his right arm last week, Wong said, he didn’t know why, other than perhaps he was compensating for the left elbow. While he is out this time, Wong said, “Now I get a chance to make sure both (elbows) are correct. Hopefully, anything else in my body that’s not right right now, I can take care of.”

Wong was out 13 days the last time and he surmised that this absence would be about the same. But he was disappointed to get hurt again just as he was making significant strides offensively (nine for 20 in the hitting streak).

“I felt I’m really taking a turn with my swing. So it’s tough to take a step back,” he said.

“But I know where I am as a player and I know what’s making me successful. It’s not coincidence or luck. I know what I’m doing and I know what’s been working.”

Manager Mike Matheny could see the discomfort Wong was in after the checked swing in the fourth inning. “He said he was going to be fine but then he had trouble letting (the ball) go when he had to make the throw,” said Matheny.

“It’s just a shame because he really had been doing a nice job, especially at the plate.”

DeJong, 23, made his major league debut on May 28 in Colorado hitting a home run in his first at-bat. He played in 12 games at second base and shortstop while batting .244 for the Cardinals before being returned to Memphis, where he has 13 homers for the season.

Matheny said he was impressed that DeJong “wasn’t overwhelmed” in his first exposure to the majors . “His range (at second base) impressed us when we got to see him on a consistent basis,” Matheny said. “He did a great job around the bag and the at-bats were very consistent. He seemed to make the adjustments on the fly.”

DeJong also scored some points with Matheny by reporting to Memphis immediately after being sent down, rather than taking a couple of days as he is allotted. “That always tells us a lot about a guy,” Matheny said. “I told him when he left that I don’t know if he could have made a more positive impression than he did.”

DeJong said he wanted to get to Memphis as soon as possible because he hadn’t played any of the three games the Cardinals had before he was sent out. “I had had three days off and then a (scheduled) off day, so I was itching to get back out there,” said DeJong. “No one was keeping me out of the lineup (Tuesday).”

DeJong was slated this weekend to go to Round Rock and Omaha. Instead, he will be going to Baltimore and Philadelphia. “I’ll take Philly and Baltimore,” said DeJong.


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