In an interesting bit of irony, Cardinals second baseman Kolten Wong, who was sent to Triple-A Memphis less than a month ago as the team tried to jumpstart its offense, has now been recalled once again as the Cards try to inject some punch into an almost-lifeless hitting attack. Utility infielder Greg Garcia, who went 2-for-10 at the plate in his short time with the Cardinals but took a walk off hit by pitch to win the game on Tuesday night, has been sent back to Memphis as a result.
The 23-year-old Wong, who went 22-for-64 (.344) over 15 games at Memphis, should get the bulk of the starts at second for the immediate future. 36-year-old Mark Ellis, who has gotten the large majority of the starts since he returned from the disabled list in mid-April, is hitting .190 with a minuscule .222, so there’s no reason to continue to try to get him going if the Cardinals think Wong can carry his minor-league production over to the big leagues.
It is worth noting, however, that Wong had a lot of trouble hitting in the majors last year after experiencing success in the minor leagues. He hit .303 with a .466 slugging percentage over 412 at-bats in Memphis, but then came up to the majors and hit .153 with one extra-base hit over 59 at-bats. With that in mind, it’s nice that the Cardinals have the experienced Ellis on hand should Wong struggle mightily once again. The one thing they can’t do, as they did a bit after Ellis returned from the disabled list, is to allow Wong to rot on the bench and start Ellis if the veteran is performing just as badly or worse than Wong at the plate.
The Cardinals will certainly be hoping that Wong can help out a group which has been better at scoring runs lately but still can’t hit consistently enough to outperform their opponents. While they can’t count on Wong to be the catalyst of the offense, they have to hope that he’ll at least be an upgrade over Ellis.