St. Louis Cardinals second baseman Kolten Wong was pleased when the organization signed him to a new 5-year $25.5 million deal prior to last season.
The commitment by the team has not wavered but frustrations the entire spring training came to a head last week when Wong announced he would prefer a trade than to platoon at second with Jedd Gyorko.
Wong clarified those comments later and was clear in saying he wanted to win the World Series and in no other place than St. Louis, but how the manager for St. Louis Mike Matheny uses the second baseman will be closely watched early during the season.
Wong said what he did say was emotion and nothing more as he is a competitor and wants to play for the team every day.
Wong, who bats from the left side, did not start the season opener for the Cardinals due to Jon Lester starting for the Chicago Cubs on the mound, but he entered later during the game and walked during the ninth as the Cardinals beat the World Series champions 4-3.
It was only one game, but shows that the Cardinals are attempting to balance out their desire for Wong to show he can be the long-term answer for them at second.
John Mozeliak said that the team did not hide the fact it wanted Wong as the long term solution but it is not about just showing up as that does not guarantee a spot in the lineup.
Both Mozeliak and Matheny talked prior to the spring about the hopes they had for the season with Wong at second who last year batted just .240, while playing through an injured shoulder.
However, the struggles of Wong in the batter’s box continued this spring where he hit just .192.
Gyorko was not any better at just .191, but the hitter from the right side hit 30 home runs during his first season with St. Louis last season.
That earned him a place in the infield for St. Louis in some place for the time being, even if it takes time away from Wong.
Matheny and Wong met following the comments made by Wong last week and Matheny told Wong to fight and win the everyday spot at second.
Wong will get his chance on Tuesday when the Cardinals play the Cubs and face right-hander Jake Arrieta.