(Busch Stadium) Eligible to return from the disabled list today, Kolten Wong was back on the field under the watchful eye of the training staff taking ground balls, batting practice, running, and even getting a slide in.
“The knee feels good,” said Wong. “Obviously, there’s little aches and pains and what not, but at this point in the season everybody has aches and pains. As long as I can stand on it and put pressure on it, it’s good to go.”
Rain prevented Wong from being put through the paces yesterday, which results in the extended couple of days before being activated.
“I don’t necessarily think you’ll see him tomorrow,” said Mike Shildt., echoing the plan outlined yesterday by John Mozeliak. “I think we’re trying to evaluate what that looks like and just make sure we’ve got everything behind him so there’s no hiccups.”
“I wouldn’t expect it to be tomorrow. I wouldn’t 100% rule it out, but I would be surprised.”
Later in the afternoon, it was learned that Wong will head to Peoria for a one-game rehab stint on Thursday.
When he returns to duty with the Cardinals, it will be without his bright, yellow cleats–which have now been relegated to warm-ups.
“I got a firm ‘no’ on the cleats,” said Wong, who did not want to discuss the matter further.
MLB has a strict uniform policy, which includes rules regarding sponsorships and color schemes.
So while the shoes will be red instead of yellow, Wong should see the bulk of playing time at second base when ready to return.
“I would expect so, yes,” said Shildt. “Kolten’s turned himself into an elite defender. Analytically, metrically it will tell you the same thing–your eyes will tell you that as well. Kolten’s really, really worked at his craft and has always been a good defender. This year, he’s become an elite defender.”
Mike Shildt would know. He was the manager at Springfield (AA) in 2012, where Wong spent his first full professional season.
“Consistency,” said Shildt of the biggest difference he sees in the second baseman between then and now. “Kolten’s become a more consistent defender, a more consistent player. To his credit, that takes some evolution–especially guys that get to this level so quickly. To learn what that looks like and to do it on a stage like this and the competition we deal with, but ultimately just become a more consistent player so his tools show up and have value.”
–The Cardinals have still not named who will replace Carlos Martinez in the start for Saturday. It is expected to be either Austin Gomber or Daniel Poncedeleon.
Shildt did share that John Gant will start on Friday at Pittsburgh.
–Both Adam Wainwright and Brett Cecil had bullpen sessions this afternoon. Wainwright shared he was going to have an extended session in preparation for going 100% velocity in his next bullpen. He could head out on rehab assignment soon after.
photo credit: Jake Roth-USA TODAY Sports