Wong goes on IL with oblique strain

April 11th, 2021

At least managed to get in an emotional beginning to his return to St. Louis. He won’t get the emotional ending this time around.

The Brewers announced Saturday morning that their starting second baseman is headed to the 10-day injured list with a left oblique strain. Wong said he really felt the oblique flare during his third at-bat against Cardinals pitcher Adam Wainwright on Thursday.

“It was aggravated from before, but we did the tests, I took BP, did everything I needed to do before the game, and it felt strong,” Wong said. “Third at-bat, I swung over a Wainwright curveball, and I just kind of felt it grab me a little more. Next swing, it grabbed on me a little more, and then I really didn’t have anything there. I was trying to compete, trying to see what I could do, but I was at that point where I just needed to stop. I was doing more harm to the team than good.”

Though Milwaukee is still losing its regular leadoff hitter for at least 10 games, the hope is that the injury isn’t too serious. Brewers manager Craig Counsell said he believes it’s on the minor side “as far as obliques go,” and moving Wong to the IL was just the right move to help him get the recovery out of the way earlier in the season.

For his part, Wong said he’s already felt stronger in the past two days. He will continue to receive treatment over the next five or so days to reduce the inflammation, and then the team will reevaluate if the 10 days is enough. Wong is frustrated to already be going on the IL just over a week into the season -- and he won’t sit around just waiting for his oblique to heal on its own -- but he knows that’s just how baseball goes sometimes.

“That’s the beauty of this sport,” Wong said. “It just humbles you in so many different ways and continues to show you that once you think you’ve got it figured out, or you think something is going to work out the way you want it, it’s got other plans.”

Where the Brewers go from here

While Counsell doesn’t have a set plan for how he’s going to handle Wong’s absence, he at least has a few choices at his disposal.

For Saturday’s matchup, the Brewers selected utility man Jace Peterson from the alternate training site to start at second base. Peterson played in 26 games with Milwaukee in 2020. His ability to play all over the field already made him a solid option defensively. Offensively, he hit just .200 in 45 at-bats last season, but his .393 on-base percentage makes him an enticing option for the Brewers.

“He did a nice job of getting on base last year,” Counsell said. “That’s something that’s trended as his career’s gone on a little bit. Jace isn’t going to be the everyday answer here over the next 10 days but today, it fits. His versatility allows us, depending what’s going on in the game, to make adjustments because he can play pretty much everywhere on the field.”

Counsell can also move first baseman Keston Hiura back to the middle infield.

Hiura moved to first to fill the club’s void at the position after playing second the past two seasons. The potential he's shown with his bat outweigh some of his deficient defensive numbers, and Counsell said he will likely move Hiura over to second base as just a fill-in option.

“We’ll consider that at times. I’m guessing you’ll see it,” Counsell said. “Today, I didn’t think was the right day to do it, but I think you’ll see it from time to time.”