KC@STL: Wong shaken up on dive, stays in the game

TORONTO -- A day after asking out of the game because of shoulder soreness and three days after first injuring that left shoulder diving for a grounder, Kolten Wong was absent from Friday's starting lineup and much of the team's pregame work.

Wong, whose strength continues to test out well, received an anti-inflammatory shot on Friday in an effort to relieve some of the persistent aggravation. He did not take swings during batting practice and said there was a chance he could miss the entire weekend series if needed to get him past the nagging issue.

"It all depends on how I feel with time," Wong said. "I think [the shot] is helping, because my shoulder feels a lot better than it did yesterday. The pain is not anywhere close to what it was. I think taking a day or two off is really going to help get my shoulder back to where it needs to be."

Wong had three at-bats in Thursday's loss before being replaced at second base by Daniel Descalso, who also started there Friday. The sore shoulder forced Wong to let go of the bat with his top hand in his early-inning swings. Then, when he tried to finish his normal follow-through, the pain became too much, and he alerted the Cardinals' staff to the continued discomfort.

"I got a little stubborn in my last at-bat and wanted to do something," Wong said. "I tried to swing regular, and that's when I felt it. I knew I didn't want to push it and make it any worse."

Manager Mike Matheny did not rule Wong entirely unavailable (even as a pinch-hitter) for Friday night's series opener against the Blue Jays, though the preference would be to stay away from him. The Cardinals also did not see it necessary to have Wong have additional tests on Friday because he showed no decrease in range of motion.

With the expectation that this would be a short-term absence for Wong, the Cardinals would prefer not to place him on the disabled list, which would sideline him for a minimum 15 days.

"Once again, he's measuring out in strength, and the doctors who have looked at him don't believe there is anything structurally there," Matheny said. "It's just sore. When the soreness is keeping him from being able to do what he needs to do, that's when we need to back off. I don't think anybody is worried about him further injuring it."

Worth noting

• The Cardinals, who arrived at their Toronto hotel after 3 a.m. ET on Friday, did not schedule early infield practice before their series opener but were nevertheless deliberate in having players field plenty of ground balls and choppers off the artificial turf. Friday marked the first time this season that the club played a game on turf, and with a series in Tampa Bay to follow, the Cardinals will actually play five straight games on the surface.

Coaches also hit balls off the outfield wall so that the outfielders could get an opportunity to get a feel for how it played. Jhonny Peralta, Mark Ellis and Peter Bourjos -- all of whom played several years in the American League -- served as resources in the Cardinals' preparations for playing on the unfamiliar surface.

• Catcher Yadier Molina slid into the designated hitter's spot on Friday to give him at least a partial breather from working behind the plate. That gave Tony Cruz the opportunity catch one of Lance Lynn's starts for the sixth time this season.

• The Cardinals recently named outfielder Randal Grichuk and right-hander Chris Perry as the organization's Minor League Player and Pitcher of the Month for May. Grichuk, who has since been called up to the Majors, hit .321 with six doubles, seven homers and 15 RBIs for Triple-A Memphis in May. Perry, a 17th-round pick in the 2012 First-Year Player Draft, struck out 40 and posted a 0.46 ERA in 10 relief appearances for Class A Peoria.