ST. LOUIS -- Adam Wainwright painted himself patriotic Sunday in support of the U.S. men's national soccer team, which will face Portugal in a first-round World Cup match later in the day.
"Besides our game, it's the biggest game of the day, biggest game of the year," Wainwright said Sunday morning. "All these other people from all these other countries are getting fired up, painting their face and wearing flags and all that. It's time for the United States to stand up and be patriotic, too."
And so he did. Actually, it was Wainwright's wife, Jenny, who painted the American flag across Wainwright's face Sunday morning, before the Cardinals' ace reported to Busch Stadium. He also came clad with a USA soccer scarf, as well as several washable USA tattoos that he plans to pass out to teammates for their charter flight to Denver.
Wainwright is not a bandwagon soccer fan, either. He played competitive soccer as a child, where he starred at several different positions. In 1994, he traveled to Orlando to watch a World Cup game between the Netherlands and Ireland.
"I almost," he admitted, "quit baseball for soccer."
Seeking spark, Matheny bats Holliday in two-hole
ST. LOUIS -- Amid all of Cardinals manager Mike Matheny's lineup maneuvering this season, only two players -- Matt Carpenter and Matt Holliday -- have remained in fixed spots in the batting order. Now, that's a distinction unique to Carpenter.
Continuing to seek a way to spark the offense, Matheny moved Holliday from the third spot in the order to the No. 2 hole for Sunday's series finale against the Phillies. Matheny justified the move by pointing out Holliday's on-base percentage -- a team-best .376, tied with Carpenter -- and noting that an ideal lineup should be OBP-heavy up top.
"We're just trying to get a real good feel here with how guys are swinging it and trying to take advantage with a couple guys who are getting on base a lot and having faith in guys later in the lineup, in the middle of the lineup to drive them in," Matheny said. "It's always trying to figure out what's going to work today, and this is what we're rolling with."
Holliday has driven in the game-winning run in 10 of the Cardinals' 40 wins, but he has also been slow to show power this year, evident in his .388 slugging percentage heading into Sunday. That, too, factored into this lineup move.
Sunday marked just the 11th time -- and the first since 2010 -- that Holliday has batted second for St. Louis. The previous 10 all came consecutively from June 14-25, 2010. Holliday went 16-for-40 with three doubles, five homers and 11 RBIs during that stretch.
Matheny would not project whether he would continue to bat Holliday second beyond Sunday.
"He's been getting on base a lot and he's been driving in runs, so it's kind of been one of those juggle issues," Matheny said. "I just believe there is some opportunities to maybe give us a little different look and see how it comes together. … He knows around here that we're just trying to do the best for him, like we're trying to do the best for everybody else."
Wong to have MRI on left shoulder Monday
ST. LOUIS -- Second baseman Kolten Wong, who was placed on the disabled Saturday, is scheduled to undergo an MRI on his ailing left shoulder Monday to get a better understanding of the seriousness of the injury.
Wong injured his shoulder nearly three weeks ago while making a diving play in the field. He missed four of the five games immediately after getting hurt, but that rest only temporarily alleviated the pain. It has since gradually worsened and left Wong unable to finish his swing. He had two hits in 26 at-bats after the injury.
"Any time I stretched my arm, I could feel a little pinch," Wong said. "I thought if I kept playing through it, eventually it would go away. But it's been a couple weeks now and it hasn't gone away. We thought we would take care of it now before it gets any worse."
Wong did not have an MRI on his shoulder after initially injuring it, so this follow-up exam should provide clarification on the specifics of the injury and what treatment plan should be followed. Wong won't be eligible to come off the DL until at least July 6. The Cardinals do not anticipate receiving a serious diagnosis.
"I'm watching some of the movements, and I'm watching some of the things he's doing," manager Mike Matheny said. "He looks close, but he looks a hair off."
The layoff is just another setback for Wong, who has faced several this year. He struggled to assert himself as the Cardinals' starting second baseman upon being awarded the job out of Spring Training, and that led to the club sending him back to Triple-A to regain his swing and confidence.
He crushed Triple-A pitching and carried that momentum over upon being recalled in mid-May. In the 15 games he played before injuring his shoulder, Wong was 18-for-57 with eight runs scored and 10 RBIs.
"Coming back after being sent down and doing what I did injuring my arm the same day I hit the grand slam, it did [stink]," Wong said. "You want to continue to progress and get better. It's not fun."
Kelly to begin Triple-A rehab stint Friday
ST. LOUIS -- Cardinals general manager John Mozeliak announced after Sunday's game that Joe Kelly will begin a Minor League rehab assignment on Friday with Triple-A Memphis. That decision was made after Kelly threw two pain-free simulated innings at Busch Stadium on Sunday morning.
Kelly's readiness for that next step took on added importance when Mozeliak also announced that two starters -- Michael Wacha and Jaime Garcia -- were being moved to the disabled list with shoulder injuries. Kelly will need at least two Minor League starts, Mozeliak said, before being considered an option to rejoin the Cardinals' rotation.
The right-hander will threw between 40-60 pitches Friday.
The organization had also planned to have Kelly do some PFP (pitcher's fielding practice) work Sunday, but a heavy morning downpour led the Cardinals to nix those plans. Kelly could do that defensive work as early as Monday, manager Mike Matheny said.
Kelly has been on the 15-day disabled list since April 17 with a left hamstring strain.
"Today you could see he trusted it and let it go," Matheny said. "He came in with a lot of bounce [after throwing]. He was extremely excited about how he felt."
• Left-hander Kevin Siegrist played flat-ground catch again Sunday and noted afterward that his aching left shoulder continues to improve. If all continues to go well, Siegrist is expected to get back on a mound to throw this week.
• Outfielder Shane Robinson returned to the Cardinals' clubhouse Sunday after being recalled upon Wong's move to the disabled list. This marks the start of Robinson's third stint with the big league team this season.
"I can't begin to tell you how much we hate doing that," Matheny said of the yo-yo effect on Robinson. "You can't take the human aspect out of it, too. You have a guy with a young family and expecting wife and we keep sending him on the shuttle back-and-forth. He's a guy who is a good part of this team and a good player."
• Matheny implied that the Cardinals will likely keep 13 pitchers on the roster at least through the team's upcoming stop in Colorado. The Cardinals open a three-game series against the Rockies on Monday.
Jenifer Langosch is a reporter for MLB.com. Read her blog, By Gosh, It's Langosch, and follow her on Twitter @LangoschMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.