Jon Jay's extra work pays off

Since Mike Matheny gave Jon Jay two days off — three when you add in a scheduled off day — the Cardinals center fielder has broken out of the 0-for-21 slump he was in. He reached base safely in six games since then, with a .600 on-base percentage in those games, before going 0 for 3 Tuesday.

“It definitely helps when you can go in the cage and you know you’re not playing,” Jay said. “You always want to be able to work through it, but when you get a day off like that, you go in the cage and spend as much time as you can.

“I feel better at the plate and I’m remaining positive. I know I can bring a lot to the table. It’s just a matter of doing it.”

While Jay’s swing was the issue in his drought, he’s been getting on in ways that don’t even involve taking the bat off his shoulder. Jay walked three times in two games, matching his walk total for the first 21 games of the season, and was hit by pitch twice.

“I’m just trying to have good at-bats,” he said. “If I can go out there and have good at-bats, you never know what’s going to happen. Swing at strikes, take the balls and hopefully good things happen.”

“We gave him a little time,” Matheny said before Tuesday’s game, “and the last two games certainly he’s looked different. He’s going up there with confidence.”

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