4/22/2014 12:35 A.M. ET
Ellis gets call over Wong for opener with Mets
By Jay Greenberg / Special to MLB.com
NEW YORK -- Manager Mike Matheny sat Kolten Wong for Monday's opener of a four-game series against the Mets not because the second baseman isn't hitting but because he is about to start.
"The Mets have a right-handed pitcher [in Jenrry Mejia], yes, but it's a right-handed pitcher who has had a lot of success against lefties," said Matheny. "It's a tough assignment for a guy real close to getting back on track.
"In Kolten's extra work in BP, you can see that he right there, he's close. Plus Mark Ellis has taken some real nice at-bats."
Ellis -- an 11-season veteran signed as a free agent last winter to back up Wong, the Cardinals' 2011 first-round Draft pick -- missed the first 15 games with tendinitis in his left knee. Ellis' return seemed to coincide with the struggles that have left Wong on a 2-for-13 stretch that has dropped his on-base percentage to .297.
"[Wong] was still doing OK, and when Mark got here, [Wong] kind of lost his timing a little bit," said Matheny. "He will get it back.
"I think he is doing a better job than what we were seeing in Spring Training of not feeling good but not wearing it on his sleeve. He is making good strides toward getting it remedied. I talked to him at length today about some of the things he is looking to do, and he has a real good approach to how to fix it. I am anxious to get him back out there.
"We have a known quality in Mark Ellis. When he is going right, we can fit him in there, and when the matchup looks good, it is an easy day to get to him. Kolten is one of those 'great expectations' kind of players. He has shown us so much of what he can do. We have to take advantage of days when it doesn't look right for him to get it right so we don't just beat him up."
Fornataro throws perfect frame in debut
NEW YORK -- Right-hander Eric Fornataro, called up from Triple-A Memphis last week, pitched a one-two-three eighth inning on Monday night in his Major League debut, inducing two ground balls and a flyout.
"A little bit," said the 26-year-old Fornataro when asked if he was nervous. "I haven't pitched in about a week.
"I felt a little out of sync, so I just tried to throw strikes, all fastballs and sinkers, didn't want to mess with any offspeed pitches. I just focused on the catcher, didn't look in the stands."
Unger given reins of Triple-A Memphis
NEW YORK -- The Cardinals announced on Monday that Craig Unger, an account executive in marketing and sales who has been assisting in Memphis since January's transfer of the Redbirds ownership to the Cardinals, will permanently take over the daily management of the Triple-A team as the club's new general manager.
"Craig played a key role in our acquisition. which made him a natural fit for the position," said Bill DeWitt III, president of the Cardinals. "He brings a lot to the table with his experience in sales, marketing and management."
Unger, who joined the Cardinals in 2008, played an essential role in returning the team's radio broadcasts to KMOX (1120 AM), served as the field producer for the 2009 All-Star Game at Busch Stadium, coordinated the 2011 World Series victory parade and secured last year's long-term partnership with St. Louis-based Mercy as the Cardinals' official medical provider.
To assist Unger, Ben Weiss, the Redbirds' general manager since 2009, has been named senior advisor.
The Redbirds are the third Minor League team owned and operated by the Cardinals. The Class A Advanced Palm Beach Cardinals, purchased in 2002, and Double-A Springfield Cardinals, purchased in 2005, have each won their respective league championships under the ownership of the parent team.
The Cardinals have won a championship at every Minor League level since 2000, including two in Memphis (2000, 2009) and one in Springfield (2012), Palm Beach (2005), Quad Cities (2011), Batavia (2008) and Johnson City (2010-11).
• Matt Adams entered Monday on a six-game hitting streak and with nine multihit games, the most in the National League.
"I got off to a good start last year, too, playing only every third game, though," Adams said. "I try to go into Spring Training taking what I did in the offseason and carry that through, and so far that has worked."
Adams hit four homers and recorded 11 RBIs in camp.
• Cardinals pitchers have struck out seven or more batters in 14 games this season, second only to Washington (16) in the NL.
• The Cardinals have Major League Baseball's best mark (213-150) in March and April games since 2000. Their last losing April came in 2007, when they went 10-14.
Jay Greenberg is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.