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Cards exercising caution with Wong's hamstring

No timeline for second baseman's return, but MRI results 'encouraging'
@anne__rogers
September 21, 2019

CHICAGO -- As soon as Kolten Wong felt his hamstring pull during Thursday night’s 5-4, extra-innings win over the Cubs, he slowed down and stopped running. He’s hoping that his choice in that small moment will pay big dividends with his left hamstring strain and won’t keep him out for

CHICAGO -- As soon as Kolten Wong felt his hamstring pull during Thursday night’s 5-4, extra-innings win over the Cubs, he slowed down and stopped running. He’s hoping that his choice in that small moment will pay big dividends with his left hamstring strain and won’t keep him out for long.

Wong learned from last year, when he strained the same muscle in August by running out the play instead of stopping as soon as he felt something.

“I tried to push it last year, and I think I made it worse pushing out that run,” Wong said. “As soon as I felt it this time, I shut it down. I hoped that was a difference-maker, and I feel like it is. The flexibility is still there, there’s just a little bit of pain in that one spot. As long as I can tolerate the pain in that spot, and it’s not going to affect me anymore, I’m going to see what I can do.”

Wong had an MRI scan taken Friday morning, and it didn’t reveal anything more than a mild to moderate strain. Wong was planning to meet with the doctor Saturday morning to have a better idea of what he will be able to do over the next couple of days.

“I want to see when I can be used,” Wong said. “I feel good. The last time I pulled my hamstring, the day after I was super tight. This time, the day after, I felt good. Flexibility was there, everything was there. It was just a matter of the pain being there, so once that goes away, it’s all ready to go again.”

Cardinals manager Mike Shildt said that they’re going to be cautious with Wong because they don’t want to make the strain worse. There is no timeline for when Wong might return to the lineup, but Shildt said it’s encouraging that the second baseman feels like playing.

“Hamstring, or any muscle compromised, you have to be careful,” Shildt said. “The good news is, he’s feeling good, moving around in the sense of walking and doesn’t feel it a lot. We’re just going to continue to take it day by day, encouraging but no timetable at all.”

Wong will need to demonstrate swinging, running and fielding without any pain before being cleared to play, Shildt said, because of the nature of the injury, which might have put him on the injured list if it wasn’t September with expanded rosters. Wong feels the most pain when he digs into the ground when running or hitting. He hadn’t taken swings when he met with reporters before Saturday afternoon’s game against the Cubs, so he didn’t know how it would feel. But he doesn’t feel pain when walking or pushing down on the hamstring.

He’s eager to get back on the field, with where the National League Central-leading Cardinals are in the standings and at this point of the season. The Cardinals do have the depth -- with Tommy Edman playing second and Matt Carpenter at third -- to give Wong some time to recover in time for a postseason run.

“I’m trying to push it right now,” Wong said. “I came here today and was like, ‘Hey let’s do some running,’ because I feel so good. There’s still a little bit of pain, but at this point, if my team needs me to be out there, I’m going to suck it up and do what I can. We can tape it and do other things to put me in a position to help the team. Whatever that means, I’m ready to do it.”

Anne Rogers covers the Cardinals for MLB.com. Follow her on Twitter @anne__rogers and on Facebook.