Wong feels relaxed after first career hits, stolen bases
MILWAUKEE -- After Kolten Wong legged out a sixth-inning grounder for his first Major League hit Monday, he was finally able to exhale.
"Once that first hit got out of the way, I kind of ran past first base and I just kind of looked up and took a deep breath and realized that it's done with," Wong said. "Now let's play baseball."
It did not take long for the 22-year-old second baseman to notch his second hit, another infield single in the eighth that started a game-winning, four-run rally in the Cardinals' 8-5 win against the Brewers at Miller Park. He finished Monday 2-for-5 with two stolen bases, and batted second Tuesday, producing another big day with three hits and a stolen base in the Cardinals' 6-3 loss.
Wong was promoted to the big leagues for last weekend's series against the Cubs and has started four of five games at second base since his callup.
"He's got a nice approach at the plate," manager Mike Matheny said. "Real short swing, real quick hands. He's learning. [Monday] he had the one at-bat, the only time he looked like he wasn't comfortable. They've tried making similar pitches to that since, and he's made the adjustment. It's pretty impressive."
Wong became the first player to record two hits and two stolen bases in one of his first four MLB games since the D-backs' Trent Oeltjen did it in his Major League debut at Pittsburgh on Aug. 6, 2009. Four other modern-era players have done this in a Cardinals uniform: She Donahue (in his first game in 1904), Joe Delahanty (first game in '07), Vince Coleman (fourth game in '85), and John Morris (second game in '86).
Wong was just happy to get a good night's rest Monday night.
"I was able to sleep last night, that's for sure," he said. "I finally got that out of the way."
Matheny likes what the Cardinals' fourth-ranked prospect brings to the big league lineup.
"He brings a speed element," Matheny said. "He brings just a lot of energy and excitement. That's what a young player's supposed to do. We talked about that with some of the other young guys that have come up here. They've got a lot to prove, and want to show what they can do and contribute.
"They understand that we're pushing to win here. This isn't about exposing the young guys to this league, it's about winning and getting them involved here and getting them an opportunity. It's great for our club, great for the individual."
Wong said he received the ball he hit into the hole at shortstop for his first hit after the game and will give it to his parents.
"I think now I'm a little more relaxed, but I'm still new to this -- the big leagues -- so I'm excited to get out there and play," he said.