On Monday, Kamehameha-Hawaii alum and University of Hawaii baseball legend Kolten Wong returned to the lineup for the Milwaukee Brewers after a three-day stint on the paternity list.
That’s because on Saturday, Kolten and his wife, former UH cross country runner Alissa Wong (née Noll), welcomed their first child, a boy named Kash Kaha.
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Wong hit in his usual leadoff spot in his first game back on Monday, going 1-for-4 with two strikeouts in a 12-0 loss to the Philadelphia Phillies. But at 84-55, the Brewers have a firm grip on the NL Central and are up 11 games on the second-place Cincinnati Reds with less than a month remaining in the regular season.
Wong, who is currently hitting .279 with 11 home runs through 95 games played, is having perhaps his best year at the plate statistically in his professional career thus far. Despite having multiple appearances in the 10-day injury list, Wong is on pace to have career-highs in multiple offensive categories, including home runs, doubles, runs and slugging percentage.
Defensively, the two-time defending National League Gold Glove winner at second base currently leads the MLB in fielding percentage at second base (.997).
Here’s where other MLB players with Hawaii ties stand heading into the final stretch of the 2021 regular season:
Isiah Kiner-Falefa, shortstop, Texas Rangers (Mid-Pacific): Kiner-Falefa has remained solid despite consistent struggles for the Rangers, who are in last place in the AL West at 48-88. Heading into Monday, Kiner-Falefa was hitting .263 with career-highs in home runs (7), RBI (44), hits (124), runs (63) and doubles (24).
Kiner-Falefa continues to be stellar defensively, leading the league in outs made (419) and assists (372). He also leads all shortstops in defensive runs saved at 14.
Josh Rojas, utility, Arizona Diamondbacks (University of Hawaii): Like Kiner-Falefa, Rojas has been a bright spot on a losing team. The Diamondbacks are currently in the bottom of the NL standings at 45-93, but Rojas has produced with his bat, hitting a steady .271 with 11 home runs.
Kurt Suzuki, catcher, Los Angeles Angels (Baldwin): Suzuki continues to hold his role as LA’s backup catcher while serving as Shohei Ohtani’s primary option on days that the likely AL MVP takes the mound. Suzuki has appeared in 59 games, hitting four home runs with 13 RBI in 180 at-bats.
Kean Wong, utility, Los Angeles Angels (Waiakea): Wong‘s two most recent appearances in an MLB game have been on July 16 against the Seattle Mariners and Aug. 26 against the Baltimore Orioles, as the former UH commit has spent most of his time since then on the Triple-A Salt Lake Bees. However, the Angles recalled Wong on Sunday.
Ka’ai Tom, outfielder, Pittsburgh Pirates: Tom has not appeared in an MLB game since July 1. Since then, he’s been at Triple-A Indianapolis, where he’s hitting .216 in 15 games.
Jordan Yamamoto, pitcher, New York Mets: Yamamoto has been on the mend from a shoulder injury and is on a rehab assignment for the Low-A St. Lucie Mets. Yamamoto made a pair of MLB starts in May and has a 2.29 ERA in seven minor league starts this season.
An additional update on a pair of Triple-A pitchers from Waiakea: Kodi Medeiros was placed on the 7-day injury list for the Chicago White Sox’s Charlotte Knights, while Quintin Torres-Costa was released by the Nashville Sounds, Milwaukee’s AAA affiliate, on Aug. 30.