06/26/11 2:37 PM ET
First-rounder Wong meets future teammates
By Austin Laymance / MLB.com
Wong, the 20th overall pick in the 2011 First-Year Player Draft out of the University of Hawaii, signed with the Cards on Saturday and took batting practice and ground balls before the game on Sunday, getting his first taste of life in the big leagues.
"It was amazing, everything I ever dreamed of," Wong said. "Just getting out there and swinging on a Major League field and getting pointers from Mark McGwire, that's all you can ask for."
Wong worked with coach Jose Oquendo on his footwork at second base, getting tips on how to turn a double play. Wong was a catcher in high school and played center field as a freshman with the Rainbows before moving to second for his final two years of college.
"Coming in from the University, people don't take you out at second base, so he just wanted to work with me because you're not used to turning the double play with someone coming at you," Wong said. "He wanted to work with me on that to just get my footing down, so if I do get taken out, I get taken out the right way and don't injure myself."
With his family watching and the eyes of the Cardinals brass upon him, Wong sprayed the ball all over the Busch Stadium outfield during batting practice, showing off a smooth swing from the left side. Wong admitted he was a little nervous beforehand, though, and couldn't sleep the night before.
"I got out there and all these big leaguers are talking to me, and I don't know what to say," Wong said. "It's just been that kind of day where I'm so happy and so excited, the emotions are coming out and I don't know how to control them."
As he autographed baseballs for a group of young fans, it was hard to tell who was more excited: the Cards' newest addition or the kids. By the time he left the field, Wong's No. 11 jersey was drenched with sweat, but the Hawaii native wasn't ready to ditch his first big league outfit.
"I'm taking this home, I don't care what they say," Wong said.
Wong will report to Class A Quad Cities on Monday, when he will begin his professional career and start his journey to the Majors.
David Freese went hitless in four at-bats in his fourth rehab game with Triple-A Memphis, but Stephen Hill homered and went 2-for-4 as the Redbirds beat Omaha, 3-1, on Saturday. Maikel Cleto struck out nine in 7 1/3 innings for his first win.
Nick Punto went 1-for-3 and played seven innings in the field in his sixth rehab game with Double-A Springfield, but the Cardinals lost to Tulsa, 2-0, on Saturday. Shelby Miller fanned eight in six innings, giving up two runs in his first defeat.
Adam Melker went 2-for-4 with an RBI but Class A Palm Beach fell to Charlotte, 9-2, on Saturday to snap a four-game win-streak.
Jonathan Rodriguez homered and had two hits as Class A Quad Cities edged Wisconsin, 3-2, on Saturday. Seth Blair threw five innings of no-hit ball and struck out eight.
David Medina and Cesar Valero both had RBIs but Short-Season Batavia lost to Williamsport, 3-2, on Saturday.
Gary Appelian went 3-for-5 with a double and an RBI to help rookie-level Johnson City beat Greeneville, 6-3, on Saturday to remain unbeaten.
The Gulf Coast League Cardinals were off on Saturday.