JUPITER, Fla. -- Five months after he took an awkward tumble while playing in an unfamiliar spot, Kolten Wong said he continues to deal with nagging shoulder soreness related to that fall.
Wong has been conservative with his throwing thus far in camp after a January MRI confirmed that there is still inflammation around his right shoulder. Wong traced the discomfort back to September, when he jammed his right shoulder into the Wrigley Field grass after losing his footing. Wong was playing left field that day, a position relatively new to him.
The Cardinals had Wong get a cortisone injection after the season, and he did not throw for the first three months of the offseason. When he resumed last month, Wong said he "could feel pain right away." That prompted the MRI and changes to Wong's early spring program. He has also added more shoulder strengthening exercises to try to build up the muscle.
The discomfort, Wong said, is more pronounced when he throws than when he hits.
"Obviously, there's going to be a little pain here and there, but I've played through pain my whole life, so there's not going to be a difference," said Wong, who is slated to be the team's starting second baseman. "Right now, I'm more worried about just being as quick as I can instead of getting that arm really going. I have some time to work it in."
Wong has told the Cardinals he is ready to play in Grapefruit League games, even if he doesn't throw at full strength. Manager Mike Matheny indicated that Wong's first game appearance could come as early as Sunday.
"You watched him out there today taking infield [practice]. He's going to be fine," Matheny said. "Just some guys, it makes sense to pull them back a little bit."
As for the possibility of requiring surgery to repair his shoulder, Wong said he was told, "No, not yet," when he posed that question to the Cardinals' medical staff.
"At this point, if I just strengthen it up, it will be just fine for now," Wong said. "It's coming along. It's taken a little bit. But as [with] everything, you have to let something heal before you can push it harder."
• Mike Leake will make his spring debut on Tuesday, when the Cardinals travel to Orlando to face the Braves.
• Though the Cards are most intrigued by what Jordan Schafer can do from the mound, the converted pitcher made his spring debut as an outfielder. Schafer, who made a diving catch to end the fifth, played parts of six big league seasons as an outfielder before transitioning to pitching last season. He won't make his mound debut until Monday at the earliest.
Jenifer Langosch has covered the Cardinals for MLB.com since 2012, and previously covered the Pirates from 2007-11. Read her blog, follow her on Twitter, like her Facebook page and listen to her podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.