Wong ahead of Holliday in recovery

Outfielder could be out of lineup through the All-Star break

Wong ahead of Holliday in recovery

CHICAGO -- Cardinals second baseman Kolten Wong was asymptomatic when given a follow-up concussion test on Wednesday and hopes he can return to the field for Thursday's series opener against the Pirates.

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General manager John Mozeliak added that he was "very optimistic" that Wong will be available for the key four-game set. The Cardinals are not likely, however, to have outfielder Matt Holliday available. Though Holliday continues to progress through his rehab program, the Cardinals are feeling less inclined to rush him back before the All-Star break.

"It's just more trying to be smart about this," Mozeliak said. "Clearly, we want him back. But there is a risk-reward proposition with getting him back sooner rather than later. I just want to be patient with that because we've gone this long, and obviously we want him back, but we want him back healthy, and we want him back for good."

Holliday has been sidelined with a right quad strain since June 8. He has been increasing his running and agility work this week with an eye on getting back before the All-Star break. If he does not come off the disabled list in Pittsburgh, Holliday will not be able to start for the National League All-Star team next week.

On Sunday, Holliday learned that he was a fan-elected starter for the All-Star Game Presented by T-Mobile for the first time in his career.

"We briefly spoke about it yesterday, and he understands that it is team first here," Mozeliak said. "He's not overly concerned if he can't participate in that. He'd be bummed, but he understands that priority one is the Cardinals."

Wong, who said he was disappointed not to be selected for his first All-Star team, was put through tests and physical exercises on Wednesday as part of his follow-up exam. Per Major League Baseball's concussion policy, Wong could not play for 48 hours after showing signs of a concussion, which made him unavailable for Wednesday's series finale. His headache subsided overnight.

"I played football my whole life and I had a few concussions there, so I knew the symptoms and what to expect," said Wong, who came down on his head after making a tumbling catch in Game 1 of Tuesday's doubleheader. "I told them yesterday that I was feeling good. I just hit my head pretty hard so I was feeling pretty dazed from that. But all in all, I knew I was fine."

Jenifer Langosch is a reporter for MLB.com. Read her blog, By Gosh, It's Langosch, follow her on Twitter @LangoschMLB, like her Facebook page Jenifer Langosch for Cardinals.com and listen to her podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.