(BaseballStL) — Sent down to Memphis because he wasn’t helping a struggling offense, Kolten Wong returned to St. Louis Wednesday as it’s possible savior.
Charged with reworking his mechanics, Wong was optioned to AAA to find a lost swing that had him hitting .225 with nine strikeouts and on on base percentage of .276.
It took 15 games, but the Cardinals appear convinced the second baseman has cured what ailed him.
In 64 at bats, he hit .344, scored 14 times and stole five bags. He had only two hitless games and had multiple hits in six contests, his most recent of which was a 4-for-5 day with a homer and four RBIs on Tuesday.
When asked what he thought of the former first-rounder Tuesday, GM John Mozeliak said he was checking a lot of boxes. Wednesday, Mike Matheny confirmed that assessment.
“I saw everything. A home run yesterday, we some some plus [defense], some good plays,” the manager said in his office. “We saw some speed and a guy who was confident on what he’s working on. Hopefully he didn’t just get himself right, but learned how he did it.”
Before he could cash in on his newfound offensive proficiency, Wong was sent home by team doctors with a stomach illness.
In fact, it wasn’t 10 minutes after Matheny welcomed the 23-year-old back that the latter was out the door and headed for home.
“Kolten didn’t know he was sick,” the Cardinal skipper said. The decision to give Wong the day off kept him from making his return to the lineup, and possibly the two spot he occupied before his demotion.
Matheny was clear he planned to use Wong immediately, and now that he’s back, the young second baseman will get steady work.
“I’d say he’s going to see significant time,” he said, careful not to suggest immediate lack of performance could result in another trip down Interstate 44. “I don’t think that’s fair to even start that conversation with him looking over his shoulder the minute he gets back. He’s going to play.”
The Cardinals sent down Tuesday's hero Greg Garcia to make room for Wong.