Hawaii’s Kean Wong makes successful return to MLB in win for Angels over A’s


Los Angeles Angels’ Kean Wong, left, gestures after hitting a double next to Oakland Athletics shortstop Elvis Andrus (17) during the sixth inning of a baseball game in Oakland, Calif., Saturday, May 29, 2021. (AP Photo/Jeff Chiu)

Kean Wong returned to the major leagues in a big way on Saturday.

Wong, who was a late addition to the roster for the Los Angeles Angels on Saturday following an injury to Jose Iglesias, made the start at second base and hit seventh for the Halos in their game against the Oakland Athletics. The Angels won 4-0, as the Waiakea product went 1-for-4 with a double, his first career extra base hit in the majors.

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Saturday was Wong’s first appearance in an MLB game since Sept. 26, 2019, which was also with the Angels. His double, which went off the right-center wall in the Oakland Coliseum, was his first hit in an MLB game since Sept. 11, 2019, back when he was still a member of the Tampa Bay Rays.

Wong also impressed defensively on Saturday with four assists and no errors, finishing off a 5-4-3 double play that was started by Anthony Rendon as well.

Here’s how other MLB players with Hawaii ties have performed over the weekend and during the 2021 season as a whole:

Ka’ai Tom, outfielder, Pittsburgh Pirates (Saint Louis): Tom was reinstated from the injury list and played for the first time in 11 days on Saturday and served as the 27th man on the Pirates’ roster for their doubleheader against the Rockies. The Pirates secured a pair of shutout wins over the Rockies, as Tom hit a home run on his 27th birthday.

Isiah Kiner-Falefa, shortstop, Texas Rangers (Mid-Pacific): Kiner-Falefa continues to thrive in his first year being an everyday shortstop in the major leagues. Kiner-Falefa currently leads the MLB in defensive WAR (1.3) and assists (157), and also leads all shortstops in defensive runs saved (9) and double plays turned (34). At the plate, Kiner-Falefa is hitting a steady .290, while his five home runs are already a career high. Just as he was last year, Kiner-Falefa is one of the few bright spots for the Rangers, who are currently last in the AL West at 22-31.

Josh Rojas, utility, Arizona Diamondbacks (University of Hawaii): The Diamondbacks (18-34) are currently at the very bottom of the National League standings. The DBacks headed into Saturday on a 12-game losing streak.

Rojas’ emergence has been one of the few positives to come out of Arizona’s skid. Along with his defensive versatility, Rojas has shown he has the bat to be a daily presence in the lineup with five home runs and a team-high .291 average.

Kurt Suzuki, catcher, Los Angeles Angels (Baldwin): Suzuki is currently hitting an even .200 with one home run and five RBIs for the 23-29 Angels this season, but his main role has been as a stabilizing force and catcher for Shohei Ohtani.

Kolten Wong, second baseman, Milwaukee Brewers (Kamehameha-Hawaii and University of Hawaii): Wong entered Saturday with two home runs and a .275 batting average but boosted that figure to .288 after four hits in a doubleheader sweep over the Washington Nationals.

Wong also continues to be stellar defensively and is gunning for his third consecutive National League Gold Glove.

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