JUPITER, Fla. — Kolten Wong has six steals during in spring training — two shy of his total during the 2017 season.

“I figure if I can get into that rhythm now. I won’t be able to lose it too fast when the season starts,” the St. Louis Cardinals second baseman said. “Obviously things kind of get drawn back a little bit.”

Wong has 53 regular-season stolen bases, including 20 in 2014. At one point projected a leadoff hitter, he likely will bat eighth when the season starts.

“I think I can still be aggressive — balls in the dirt, going first to third, different situations,” Wong said.

He knows he needs to get on base more. He’s hitting .176 in spring training after going 1 for 2 with a walk in Thursday’s 8-2 victory over Atlanta.

“Just an understanding of who I am as a player kind of brings that sense of calmness,” Wong said. “Now I’m not trying to figure out what I want to be or what type of player I need to be now. I know what I can be – what makes me the most successful – and I’m sticking to it.”

Manager Mike Matheny notices the difference.

“I think he’s handling things better, and to me that’s maturity,” Matheny said.

Wong hit a career-high .285 last year but had four homers — his lowest total for a full season — and his eight stolen bases.

“Whenever I get my time to steal, where ever I am in the lineup, I’m going to go,” he said. “I’m not going to be afraid or anything — just be aggressive and play the game.”


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