ST. LOUIS (AP) St. Louis Cardinals second baseman Kolten Wong has been recalled from Triple-A Memphis after a brief demotion, during which he played center field to add to his versatility.
Wong was not in the lineup Friday for the start of a weekend interleague series against the Texas Rangers, with Matt Carpenter at second base and Randal Grichuk in center.
Rookie outfielder Jeremy Hazelbaker, who has cooled off following a strong start, was optioned to Memphis. Hazelbaker has three pinch-hit homers.
The 25-year-old Wong batted .429 with four homers and 11 RBIs in seven games in the minors, including a game-winning grand slam with Memphis and said, ''I'm justified being back here.''
He was batting .222 with one homer and five RBIs in 49 games with St. Louis and lost his starting spot when Carpenter moved from third base to second to accommodate Jhonny Peralta.
''People take it like it's a bad thing,'' Wong said. ''I love playing this game, I don't care if I'm getting paid or not.''
Wong signed a five-year, $25 million extension before the season.
''Going up to being demoted, I was feeling like things were starting to click,'' Wong said. ''Everything fell into place exactly the way I knew it was going to.''
Hazelbaker was batting .250 with seven homers and 19 RBIs in 61 games, and also led the team with four steals. He had five homers with a .317 average in the first month, but since then was batting .172.