Cardinals shake up coaching staff, activate Wong, DFA Peralta
ST. LOUIS — The wobbly St. Louis Cardinals shook up their coaching staff and cut slumping infielder Jhonny Peralta on Friday, hoping to spur a team that’s struggled all season after a rare playoff miss last year.
Third base coach Chris Maloney was replaced by Mike Shildt, and the Cardinals shuffled several other assistant coaching positions. They also activated second baseman Kolten Wong from the disabled list.
St. Louis went into Friday night’s game against Philadelphia with a 26-32 record. They were just 4 1/2 games out of the lead in the tight NL Central, but this week endured their first seven-game losing streak since 2013.
“This is not how we envisioned things,” general manager John Mozeliak said. “The season has not gone like we had hoped.”
Last year, the Cardinals were out of the playoffs for the first time since 2010.
The Cardinals are hoping to score more after averaging a paltry 2.75 runs per game in June. Overall, manager Mike Matheny’s club was second-to-last in the NL in runs going into the weekend.
“This is all a direct result of how we’ve been playing,” third baseman Jedd Gyorko said. “We’ve got to play better. If we’re 10 games over .500 and in first place, these changes aren’t going to happen. We’re not where we want to be, but we know we can turn it around.”
The 35-year-old Peralta, in the final year of his contract, was designated for assignment. He was batting .204 with no RBIs or extra-base hits in 54 at-bats this season.
Wong had been sidelined since aggravating an elbow injury May 26. He is hitting .278 with 16 RBIs. Wong homered Thursday night for Class A Peoria in his third minor league rehab game.
Maloney was reassigned to another position in the organization that’s still to be determined.
Shildt will also be responsible for outfield defense, while Triple-A hitting coach Mark Budaska was promoted to an assistant hitting coach role while Bill Mueller is on a leave of absence. Also, Ron “Pop” Warner was brought up from the minor leagues to help with coaching the infield.
St. Louis signed center fielder Dexter Fowler away from the Chicago Cubs in the offseason with hopes of improving the team’s overall athleticism and speed. Fowler has struggled for much of the season, hitting .222, but so have the rest of the Cardinals.
“Do we have the pieces to be a playoff team?” Mozeliak said. “Yes, but we have to start playing better.”