JUPITER, Fla. • Kolten Wong acknowledges his failure as a part-time player late last season with the Cardinals. He all but guarantees it won’t happen again.
“That humbled me,” said Wong on Wednesday at the club’s spring training camp. “That’s the biggest thing I can take out of that. I’m fired up to show I can play at this level.
“I’m definitely going to prove everyone wrong. I worked so hard with my dad this off-season (in Hawaii) that, for me to fail, it’s going to take a lot.”
Wong, the organization’s top draft pick in 2011, had five hits in 10 at-bats in two games at Milwaukee last Aug. 19-20, shortly after his recall. He had joined the team in Chicago and had gone hitless in that series. After the seeming breakout games in Milwaukee, Wong, in essence, went hitless again.
Other than that five-for-10 stretch in which he also stole three bases, Wong went four for 49, including one for 15 as a pinch hitter. Down the stretch and into the playoffs, David Freese played third base every day, Matt Carpenter played second every day and Wong, who finished at .153, sat nearly every day although he did have a hit off the bench in the World Series.
After the games in Milwaukee, Wong said, “I got a little confidence. I thought, for sure, if I’d kept playing, I would have kept it going. But, I didn’t.”
Now, Carpenter is at third, Freese is in Anaheim and Wong, 23, projects — in pencil — as the Cardinals’ starting second baseman.
Last year, Wong clearly seemed uncomfortable as a part-time player.
“That’s something I’d never done before,” said Wong. “But I got a chance to be in the big leagues. I can’t argue with that.
“That was the job I was given. I tried my best to do as much as I could off the bench. And, unfortunately, I didn’t do too well. But this is a different story.”