Wong returns home with back pain lingering

Cardinals hope second baseman can be ready by Friday

Wong returns home with back pain lingering

SAN DIEGO -- Second baseman Kolten Wong, who has been bothered by back pain since Sunday, flew back to St. Louis on Tuesday to be examined by the Cardinals' medical staff.

Manager Mike Matheny offered optimism that "by Friday, [Wong] will be ready to go." That will depend not just on the results of Wong's medical exam, but also how quickly he can get his locked-up back to release.

Wong's departure necessitated the addition of another second baseman, which the Cardinals addressed by recalling Breyvic Valera. But losing Wong for any length of time will be a hit to the offense. Wong just finished August with a .347 batting average and has a .300/.383/.438 slash line on the season.

He has been sidelined by injury twice previously this season, first with a left elbow strain in late May and then with a right triceps strain a few weeks later.

The Cardinals don't expect injuries to Dexter Fowler (left hip) or Tommy Pham (right shoulder) to linger. Both were cleared to pinch-hit on Tuesday and could return to the lineup as early as Wednesday.

Fowler hasn't played since exiting Saturday's game after jarring his hip while legging out a triple. Pham was removed in the seventh inning on Monday after feeling what he described as "dead arm" during his final plate appearance.

Worth noting
• Springfield starter Austin Gomber was named the organization's Minor League Pitcher of the Month after he went 5-0 with a 0.91 ERA in six August starts. Gomber struck out 44, including a career-high 11 in his final start, over 39 2/3 innings.

• Class A Advanced Palm Beach will begin its Florida State League division series against Fort Myers on Tuesday and will be crowned co-FSL champions if they win the best-of-three series. The FSL announced on Tuesday that because of Hurricane Irma, there will be no FSL Finals series played.

• Triple-A Memphis, which finished the regular season with 91 wins, received some reinforcements ahead of the Pacific Coast League playoffs. Outfielder Magneuris Sierra and shortstop Tommy Edman were promoted from Double-A following the end of Springfield's season.

Jenifer Langosch has covered the Cardinals for MLB.com since 2012, and previously covered the Pirates from 2007-11. Follow her on Twitter and Facebook. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.