Kolten Wong took a significant step toward his return to Busch Stadium last night, playing in the first game of a rehab assignment with AA Springfield. He started at second base and hit second in the lineup behind Magneuris Sierra. Wong’s first game action since June 14th was very successful as he went 2-3 with a run scored. Prior to the game, he participated in an interview with local media and I was fortunate to attend for Redbird Daily. Below is a full transcript of the four-and-a-half-minute interview. I will use “Q” to designate the question being asked, and “KW” for his response.
Q: With the injury, how limiting has it been for you?
KW: You know, it’s just been one of those things. Where one thing kind led to another and led to another. It was just kind of frustrating, knowing that I’m working on one thing, and then it was something else. My forearm first, then it goes to my elbow, and then my tricep. It was kind of weird how it all kind of strung together, but just glad it’s all done and back to playing baseball now.
Q: How much have you been able to work in the field and work in the cage before coming here to Springfield?
KW: Um, probably this past week. You know this weekend, been kind of going with the team. Taking ground balls, taking BP, and doing things just to kind of get ready.
Q: What’s the plan for you this week? Do you know exactly how many games you’re getting into, or what the plan is trying to get back to the big leagues?
KW: Yeah, I’ll probably be here ‘til Sunday. And from there on, they want me to kind of have the all-star break just to give everything that chance to relax before the second half. I think here ‘til Sunday, and then have a good couple days off, and then back to it again.
Q: Those two stints on the DL, and just the team trying to hover around .500. Trying to catch the Cubs and the Brewers. How do you describe the first half of the season so far?
KW: Yeah, it’s been a crazy first half. You know… we, I think the guys in the clubhouse, we all know how good we are. And we understand that we haven’t been playing our best baseball yet. But to be where we are at right now, knowing that we are way better than what we have been doing. It’s definitely exciting for all of us, we are coming in everyday excited, knowing that we’re still not playing really good, but we are still right in the thick of things. So everyone’s excited and ready to go, just waiting for everybody to start really clicking together.
Q: How anxious have you been to be able to contribute more yourself? As kind of getting back in the playoff race.
KW: Yeah, I mean especially going through this injury right now. Sitting on the bench, seeing these guys grinding away, winning some games, winning some really tough games. It definitely lights a fire under you to know that you want to get back and help these guys. They’ve been doing everything they can to get us victories, keep us close, and you know I want to do what I can to help too.
Q: You already alluded to the plan, but is the plan to play a full game tonight, or how is that progressing?
KW: It’s going to be five (innings) tonight, and probably seven tomorrow. Then I think they were talking about maybe a day off the next day, and then two nines. So, I’m guessing that’s what it’s going to be, and we’ll see what happens.
Q: Baseball wise what are you hoping to get done in those innings that you play here?
KW: Just get back into. You know, I mean it’s definitely going to be different not playing for a month and then coming back. That’s a pretty lengthy layoff, but baseball’s not going to change. Go out there and play as hard as I can, and try to help this team win down here.
Q: Outside of baseball anything you want to do while you’re back in Springfield for a little while?
KW: I don’t really know what there was to do here (laughter). I was here strictly for baseball when I was here. Just enjoy being back here, I had a great time when I was here. And you know, just see what it’s about. Go and like you said, find out somethings, probably go to Bass Pro (laughter). That’s probably all I’ve done here.
KW: You know, those two guys are kind of it for us right now. They’ve been kind of carrying this team, and obviously there’s the play of the other guys. But, you see what Yadi’s been doing every single year. And, you know we all kind of expect him to make the all-star game, and expect him to be good. And then to see Carlos and the progressions he’s made as a pitcher. You know, just growing up in general. I mean, the guy’s a stud now and he knows it, he expects it. He carries himself with that.. I guess chip on his shoulder, and when he has that we understand what he can do for our team.
Q: A lot of young players have been stepping up while you’ve been out. What does that do to your compete level, and what have you been seeing from them?
KW: Oh, I mean that’s what it’s about. This game is all about competition. And, you know these guys have been coming in and definitely stepping up and doing what they can do. But, I think everyone knows what I can do as well. And, you know, it’s kind of hard to match but I’m confident in what I can bring to the table. I’m just happy those guys came in and did what they could do to help the team win.
Q: Does seeing Carp play second base have any impact on you, or change your approach? Anything like that?
KW: Absolutely not, no. You know, it’s at the point where if that’s the route they go, then that’s the route they go. I’ll be ready when I come back to do whatever they need me to do. It’s time to win, and we’re this close to being a playoff team. If that’s the route that we’re going to go then let’s do it. You know I’ll be ready to go, and be the guy I need to be to help the team get some victories.
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