Wong Takes NL Rookie of the Month for May

Kolten Wong's impressive turnaround leads a series of St. Louis Cardinals Tuesday news items. Others include Rafael Ortega and Chris Swauger.

In an impressive turnaround, St. Louis Cardinals second baseman Kolten Wong has been voted the National League Rookie of the Month for May. This occurred after the 23-year-old opened the month in the minor leagues, sent down on April 27 for 15 games after being St. Louis' opening day second baseman.

In 13 May contests with St. Louis, Wong hit .333 (16-for-48), which was the highest among NL rookies with 40-or-more plate appearances. The 22nd overall selection in the 2011 MLB Draft from the University of Hawaii ranked second among league rookies in doubles (four) and stolen bases (four), third in hits, tied for third in RBI (six) and runs scored (seven) and sixth in on-base percentage (.418).

Wong earned the return ticket to St. Louis after hitting .344 (22-for-64) with two home runs and 10 RBI in 15 games with Memphis, which also put him in consideration for The Cardinal Nation's minor league Player of the Month award.

Wong becomes the first Cardinal to be voted Rookie of the Month in over five years - since infielder Brian Barden won for April 2009.

Ortega Loses Momentum

Another player prominently mentioned in the aforementioned May Player of the Month article is Springfield outfielder Rafael Ortega. The 23-year-old tied for first in the system in runs scored and was third in stolen bases. Unfortunately, his Texas League club will be without him for at least the next week as he was placed on the seven-day disabled list on Tuesday with an ankle injury.

In his first season in the Cardinals organization, the left-handed hitter has a line of .249/.330/.363 in 193 at-bats over 53 games. Ortega has drawn 23 walks against 37 strikeouts and scored 35 runs for Springfield.

Swauger Returns to Very Familiar Place

Who says you can never come home again?

Outfielder Chris Swauger has re-signed with the Cardinals organization and has been assigned to Springfield once again, taking Ortega's roster opening.

Once a key member of Springfield's most recent Double-A championship club in 2012, Swauger had no place in the crowded outfields in Memphis and Springfield to start the 2014 season. Assigned to extended spring training camp to be ready for an opening that never came, the left-handed hitter was given his release on May 1.

The 27-year-old quickly signed with the Philadelphia organization, which sent him down to A-Advanced Clearwater. In the Florida State League, Swauger was given just 26 at-bats over eight games before being released again. He went 4-for-26 (.154) in his brief time as a Phillie.

Having first joined Springfield in 2010, Swauger is the club's all-time leader in hits (319), games (323) and at-bats (1123), while ranking in the top five in home runs (fourth, 38), RBI (third, 177) and runs (fourth, 146).

Though Springfield also added outfielder Starlin Rodriguez on Tuesday, the club had one opening due to the promotion of Mike O'Neill to Memphis on Monday.

Brian Walton can be reached via email at brian@thecardinalnationblog.com. Also catch his Cardinals commentary daily at The Cardinal Nation blog. Follow Brian on Twitter.

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