Memphis, Tenn. -- One of several players who entered spring in a competitive situation, former first-round Draft pick Kolten Wong went 0-for-10 to start the spring, but quickly settled in, finishing with a .375 average, two home runs and 9 RBIs to claim the starting second-base job as Mark Ellis struggled with knee problems.
"Just needed more than 10 at-bats," Wong said in his first trip back to Memphis since being called up late last season. "Timing is everything with me, and I didn't have it at first. But finally I started to understand, slowed down my timing and got my foot down a bit more on my swing.
Wong had a fast start when he arrived in the Majors, but struggled through the postseason. He did not mind competing for the job this spring.
"It's healthy competition. You're always helping the guy you compete with, because in the end, you're both playing for the same team."
He was happy about the Cardinals' purchase of the Redbirds.
"[AutoZone Park] was an amazing place to play with great fans who came out," Wong said. "It's an awesome experience, and it's a good thing that the [parent] team will be taking care of this field and this for years to come."
Pete Wickham is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.