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Kolten Wong lashes out after losing his starting role with the Cardinals

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Kolten Wong is no longer the only second baseman being considered for a starting role on the Cardinals’ roster, and he’s not happy about it. On Saturday, GM John Mozeliak and manager Mike Matheny hinted that Wong could lose playing time to Jedd Gyorko or Greg Garcia in 2017 — in other words, an infielder who brings a little more pop at the plate. Prior to the Cardinals’ game against the Marlins on Sunday, Wong gave his heated response to the media. Via Ben Frederickson of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch:

I don’t think you give somebody a contract for no reason,” Wong said. “When you are given a contract, you are expected to get a chance to work through some things and figure yourself out. Josh Donaldson, Jose Bautista, all these guys never figured their stuff out until later on down the road. It’s the big leagues. It’s tough, man. For me, the biggest thing is I just need people to have my back. When that comes, it will be good. But, I think right now, it’s just staying with my play, understanding I’m working toward getting myself more consistent, understanding what kind of player I can be. If that’s going to be with another team, so be it.

When pressed, Wong said that he would rather be traded away from St. Louis than step into a limited role with the team. “I don’t want to be here wasting my time,” he told the press. “I know what kind of player I am. If I don’t have the belief here, then I’ll go somewhere else.” The 26-year-old was inked to a five-year, $25.5 million extension prior to the 2016 season, complete with a $12.5 million option and $1 million buyout.

Part of Wong’s frustration stems from the Cardinals’ backtracking on their stated commitment to him as their starting second baseman last winter. Mozeliak admitted that while Wong had the defensive tools necessary to hold down the position, he failed to impress at the plate. It’s an argument that Wong hasn’t been able to rebut this spring, going 8-for-44 with two extra bases and 10 strikeouts in camp. He hasn’t looked much better in the regular season, sustaining a career .248/.309/.370 batting line with a .678 OPS and 5.1 fWAR over four years with the organization.

Still, the second baseman feels that he should have been given some heads up that he was playing to keep his starting role this spring, admitting that he entered camp with the mentality of someone who had a guaranteed spot on the Cardinals’ roster and not someone whose job security was dependent on his day-to-day results. “I need the time to consistently figure out how to be me and succeed at this level,” said Wong. “Everybody goes through it. Not everybody is Mike Trout.”

Red Sox designate Eduardo Núñez for assignment

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The Red Sox announced a handful of roster moves on Monday afternoon: infielder Eduardo Núñez has been designated for assignment, pitcher Hector Velázquez has been optioned to Triple-A Pawtucket, and pitcher Ryan Weber and 1B/OF Sam Travis have both been recalled from Pawtucket.

Núñez, 32, has had an awful year, batting .228/.243/.305 with two homers and 20 RBI in 174 plate appearances. He’s owed the remainder of his $4 million salary. Odds are Núñez will pass through waivers and become a free agent, after which his odds of landing with a team will go up.

Velázquez, 30, tossed 36 pitches in an inning of work against the Dodgers last night, taking the loss after allowing three runs in the 12th inning.

Travis, 25, is back for his second stint in the majors this season. Thus far, he has a .387 OPS in 31 trips to the dish.

Weber, 28, has accrued 19 1/3 innings thus far, allowing 11 runs on 24 hits and three walks with 14 strikeouts.