St. Louis Cardinals

Cardinals’ Molina sidelined by sore knee; Wong preparing for rehab stint

Cardinals second baseman Kolten Wong talks arm injury

Kolten Wong talks Friday about his right forearm tightness.
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Kolten Wong talks Friday about his right forearm tightness.

Catcher Yadier Molina missed the St. Louis Cardinals’ game Friday against Pittsburgh with a sore left knee, although the injury doesn’t seem to be serious enough to merit concern.

Molina was in the original lineup but was scratched in favor of Eric Fryer. Molina was struck near the knee by a foul ball Thursday in a 5-1 loss in Philadelphia.

“We were hoping to get (him) some treatment that would get that resolved, but it’s still tight, so we’re giving him a day today,” Cardinals manager Mike Matheny said. “He probably could have played today. (But) it was one of those that tends to tighten up over time and overnight, so I kind of anticipated this might be how we would have to attack it.”

Wong facing rehab

Second baseman Kolten Wong, who is on the 10-day disabled list with a right triceps strain, could begin a minor-league rehab next week.

“I’m feeling good,” said Wong, who predicted he would be able to return to the Cardinals’ lineup next Friday. “I’m doing rehab and trying to take care of things and strengthening up other parts of my body to get ready. I’ve been swinging already and throwing a little bit here and there. I’m pretty close. We’re just trying to make sure there’s no pain.”

Wong and the Cardinals are not inclined to rush anything. Wong was previously on the disabled list from May 27 to June 6 with a strained left elbow.

“I just want to make sure when I’m swinging, I’m swinging at game speed and that there’s no pain,” Wong said. “If there’s any kind of pain, they told me to say something.”

Matheny said Wong will need game action before returning to St. Louis.

“We want to see everything feeling great, not just good enough,” Matheny said. “If we’re sitting him down, he needs to get this right. He needs to come back and be ready to go.”

Wong is batting .301 with 15 doubles, one home run and 19 RBIs in 47 games.

“I’ve been doing this for a while now,” Wong said, referring to a 15-game stretch in which he’s batted .400 (18-for-45). “It’s becoming a thing of consistency, and that’s exactly what I’ve been working toward. I know when I get back, it will continue.”

Fowler still ailing

Center fielder Dexter Fowler also was unavailable to start Friday. Fowler left the game Wednesday against Philadelphia and did not play Thursday.

“Dex is making good strides,” Matheny said. “He feels much better today. He’ll be out here doing more activity and should be available to us ready in the game. Hopefully, he’ll be ready to go (Saturday).”

Matheny said the injury, not believed to be long-term, had some benefit.

“It may be a good day for him anyhow,” Matheny said. “We’ve had a few guys who have been worked real hard and could probably use a day. It gives him a chance to get off his feet ... and give that leg a rest. It responded well as he got up this morning.”

Diaz down

Second-year shortstop Aledmys Diaz’s key statistical numbers are way down from last season.

Diaz, who began Friday in a 3-for-15 skid, is batting .262 with a .296 on-base percentage and a .410 slugging percentage. Last year, his slash line was .300/.369/.510.

“I think it’s the ebb and flow of the season for every player, especially on the offensive side,” Matheny said. “You’re just going to go through those times. But he’s been able to come out here — and I watch how he works — and has an idea about what the holes he has are at that particular time. He has a plan on how to fix them. He seems to bounce back.”

Grichuk in Memphis

Randal Grichuk began Friday batting .264 (14-for-53) in 12 games with Class AAA Memphis as he attempts to push his way back into the Cardinals’ plans.

Grichuk has two doubles, five home runs and seven RBIs. Four of his homers have come in the last four games. Strikeouts have again been an issue, as Grichuk has fanned 17 times.

“There’s still some things to work on,” Matheny said. “We’re still seeing some strikeouts that we’re trying to kind of work our way through. We’re trying to help him find that nice balance of putting the ball in play and driving the ball.

“I don’t think any of us had any doubt that he would go to Memphis and hit homers. He’s a dangerous hitter. It’s just a matter of getting him in a good place. He’s getting there.” 

David Wilhelm: 618-239-2665, @DavidMWilhelm

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