TORONTO -- Kolten Wong remained out of the Cardinals' lineup for the third straight day on Sunday. But with his left shoulder improving, he was not only available off the bench but also optimistic of starting the team's next game on Tuesday against the Rays.
Wong hasn't played since coming out mid-game on Thursday with persistent shoulder soreness related to a diving play from earlier in the week. He abstained from swinging a bat the last two days in order to give inflammation time to subside. Feeling improvement from ice and treatment, Wong returned to the batting cages on Sunday and joined his teammates for on-field batting practice.
The results were all positive.
"I can already tell [it's better], because before just reaching for things and stretching out my shoulder I could feel a pinch," Wong said. "Now, I don't. I feel great."
Matheny said he felt comfortable calling upon Wong as a pinch-hitter on Sunday, if necessary.
"Today, we probably could have fired him in there," Matheny added. "[But] we have the benefit of the day [off] tomorrow."
Since the Cards coasted to a 5-0 win over the Blue Jays, Wong was not pressed into service.
Jenifer Langosch is a reporter for MLB.com. Read her blog, By Gosh, It's Langosch, and follow her on Twitter @LangoschMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.