The Cardinals are promoting top prospect Kolten Wong

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Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch confirms that the Cardinals are promoting top prospect Kolten Wong from Triple-A Memphis. He will join the team in Chicago tomorrow. In a corresponding move, the Cardinals will option Adron Chambers to Memphis.

Wong was drafted by the Twins in the 16th round of the 2008 draft, but did not sign, opting instead to play at the University of Hawaii at Manoa. The Cardinals drafted him in the first round (22nd overall) of the 2011 draft. The 22-year-old started the year at Triple-A, where he has posted an .835 OPS with 10 home runs and 20 stolen bases in 463 trips to the plate.

Wong may get regular playing time at second base, which would push Matt Carpenter to third base and David Freese to the bench.

In other Cardinals top prospect news, outfielder Oscar Taveras will undergo season-ending surgery on his ailing ankle.

Why Ryan Zimmerman skipped spring training

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All spring training there was at least some mild confusion about Nationals first baseman Ryan Zimmerman. He played in almost no regular big league spring training games, instead, staying on the back fields, playing in simulated and minor league contests. When that usually happens, it’s because a player is rehabbing or even hiding an injury, but the Nats insisted that was not the case with Zimmerman. Not everyone believed it. I, for one, was skeptical.

The skepticism was unwarranted, as Zimmerman answered the bell for Opening Day and has played all season. As Jared Diamond of the Wall Street Journal writes today, it was all by design. He skipped spring training because he doesn’t like it and because he thinks it’ll help him avoid late-season injuries and slowdowns, the likes of which he has suffered over the years.

It’s hard to really judge this now, of course. On the one hand Zimmerman has started really slow this season. What’s more, he has started to show signs of warming up only in the past week, after getting almost as many big league, full-speed plate appearances under his belt as a normal spring training would’ve given him. On the other hand, April is his worst month across his entire 14-year career, so one slow April doesn’t really prove anything and, again, Zimmerman and the Nats will consider this a success if he’s healthy and productive in August and September.

It is sort of a missed opportunity, though. Players hate spring training. They really do. if Zimmerman had made a big deal out of skipping it and came out raking this month, I bet a lot more teams would be amenable to letting a veteran or three take it much more easy next spring. Good ideas can be good ideas even if they don’t produce immediately obvious results, but baseball tends to encourage a copycat culture only when someone can point to a stat line or to standings as justification.

Way to ruin it for everyone, Ryan. 😉