Wong exits game with left knee contusion

Walden sits out with shoulder soreness; Cooney makes strong appearance

Wong exits game with left knee contusion

JUPITER, Fla. -- On a day when their infielders committed five fielding errors, the Cardinals had injury added to the insult as Kolten Wong exited the 7-0 loss to the Nationals in the fourth inning after landing hard on his left kneecap.

The Cardinals diagnosed Wong with a left knee contusion, an injury that they expect to be more of a short-term nuisance than any long-term concern. After undergoing tests that showed no issue beyond the swelling and bruising, Wong left the team's complex with his left knee wrapped.

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Wong suffered the contusion trying to make a play on a Wilson Ramos ground ball up the middle in the fourth inning. He deflected the ball but then fell down awkwardly. Ramos reached safely with a single.

"I wasn't expecting to dive," Wong said. "It just took a weird hop and jumped away from me. Knowing the runner, I figured if I can catch this ball, I still have a chance to get him out. When I missed it, I took my mind off the fact that I was diving for a ball and literally landed on my knee. As I stood up from that dive, I could feel it kind of being tighter in my knee, and I didn't want it to be anything crazy, so I figured I would tell them right off the bat."

Wong finished the top of the inning in the field before being removed for a pinch-hitter in the bottom half.

Manager Mike Matheny speculated that Wong may still be too sore to play on Sunday, but he doesn't expect the second baseman to miss much additional time.

His wasn't the only injury of note on Saturday, as right-hander Jordan Walden was held out another day due to continued soreness around his shoulder. The Cardinals' concern at this point isn't so much about the severity of the injury, but rather with the timing of it. Walden hasn't pitched since Monday, and each of the last two days, he has asked to be held back.

The Cardinals had hoped to see Walden pitch on consecutive days before breaking camp. With five Grapefruit League games remaining, that now seems unlikely.

The news was better with pitcher Tim Cooney, who threw six pitches in his first Grapefruit League appearance since March 12. After twice having his throwing program stalled by arm soreness, Cooney intends to now build up arm strength necessary to open the year in the Triple-A rotation.

"I think we're putting this behind me and just moving on," Cooney said after his outing. "It was good to be out there, because it's just been such a weird spring for me not really knowing what the plan is and seeing how my arm responds to everything. But it was exciting being out there. It was fun."

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.