Jon Jay hopes to reboot in his hometown

Miami native Jon Jay spent the Cardinals’ off-day Monday relaxing at home for the first time since spring training. He probably didn’t spend much time thinking about baseball. p:BC body copy 1st graph

“I’m going to take a day to refresh,” he said.

But he could be pardoned for wondering if familiar surroundings might help jump-start him this week.

As the Cardinals prepare to start a three-game series Tuesday night in Miami against the Marlins, the Cards center fielder is hitting .230. Perhaps more significant is that he is batting just .191 since coming off the disabled list in late May after being sidelined because of left thumb and left wrist discomfort.

He had surgery on the wrist in the offseason.

Jay is nine for 47 since returning, with one double, one triple and one home run. He finds himself playing fairly regularly, with left fielder Matt Holliday still disabled — but not as regularly as he used to play.

An integral member of four straight National League championship series clubs and two World Series teams, Jay has been shunted to the background before — and always has rallied.

“I’m here,” he said Sunday in Philadelphia. “I’m able to play and I’m competing. I’ll be all right. We’ve still got a long way to go and I feel pretty confident that everything will work out.

“I’m not worried about that — like I am (not) every year.”

Cardinals manager Mike Matheny said his vibe is that Jay still is dealing with strength issues in the wrist.

“He’s working hard,” said Matheny, “but it just doesn’t look the same. You thought that after he got surgery, he might have it in the past. But it looks like it’s lingering.”

When Holliday returns, presumably in early July if not before, a deep Cardinals outfield will become even more crowded.

Five players then will have to be crammed into three spots, with Holliday and Jason Heyward likely to get everyday work and powerful rookie Randal Grichuk in the lineup on most days. That leaves Jay — a .295 lifetime hitter entering the season — and Peter Bourjos, who shared center field last year, doing so again at least temporarily.

“Every year is different, but I always stay ready,” said Jay, 30. “I think everyone would like to play more, but it’s just one of those things. But I’ll be ready when my name is called, just like I have throughout my whole career.

“If I’m not playing that day, I’m ready to come in and make an impact on defense or pinch running or a pinch-hit off the bench, whatever the case may be.”
The Cardinals basically have three center fielders, all accomplished defensively, and Gold Glover Heyward has played center, too, in his career. He is in right field now.

“I think you’ve seen that whenever any of these four are out there together, wherever they’re called to play, it’s always good,” Jay said. “The big thing is we all take have pride in our defense. All of us want to make the plays and we’re consistently talking out there. It’s been a fun, good group to play with. Definitely.”

Matheny has applauded Jay’s quarterback abilities and says, “He’s a winning player, too. I’d like to have that (outfield situation) be a very difficult decision,” he said.

The manager compared Jay in a sense to former Cardinals infielder Daniel Descalso, Jay’s close friend, who signed with Colorado this year after being a valuable Redbirds reserve.

“Descalso was always trying to find a spot and he always ended up being there in the end,” Matheny said. “For Jay, it’s always been that he’s been pushed aside for a little while and then he takes off and (the job) is his. I like to see that when it happens but I also like to watch Randal.”

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