Jon Jay

Jon Jay continues to power Cards through second half

JonJayCards
ST. LOUIS — The Cardinals have fought for consistency going into the stretch, locked in what feels like an eternal struggle with the Brewers for the NL Central title. 

Their best weapon in the second half has been Jon Jay. Lately seems every time there’s a Cardinal run, the Miami native has a hand-or a foot- in it. 

Mike Matheny was concise in his discussion of Jay’s surge, saying simply, “It’s the same conversation we’ve been having since February.” 

In fairness, the manager has maintained his confidence in the outfielder since the season began, emphasizing his versatility and praising his bat throughout the season. However, the current conversation is about a player far more compelling than just a solid piece to the team. The first half was solid for the utility outfielder. He posted a .286 average with 22 RBIs. The second half finds him nearly unstoppable.

Jay is hitting .372 since the break, with an OPS of nearly .944. He’s been an offensive force in the past two weeks, scoring 10 runs and driving in 7. He’s hitting .397 in August, leading the major leagues.  

Boiled down to the most impressive stat, since August 9, Jay has only five games in which he did not score AND did not drive in a run. He’s done one or the other 14 times and done both seven times.

As pinch hitter, he’s driven in four runs; 21 percent of St. Louis’ total PH RBIs. All four tied the game or took the lead and three of them came in August. Two took the lead on August 14 against San Diego, and a third tied Monday’s game in Pittsburgh. 

He’s played well in the outfield, coming out seven runs above average while manning three different positions. 

“He can fit in a couple different spots. Not afraid to throw him in there early, not afraid to throw him in there late,” Matheny said in Pittsburgh. “He’s a pro, he knows how to handle whatever spot we put him in the lineup.”

Jay is always humble when asked about his performance. He prides himself on his consistency and it’s never more evident than in his modesty when discussing his success.

When asked why August once again finds him among the league’s best hitters, Jay remained unchanging in his response. 

“I don’t know,” he smiled. “I don’t know, no idea. I’m just going out there trying to play hard like I always do.”

His steady play is one reason the Cardinals are nine games above .500, despite posting a run differential of -17. For a club that has seen enough one-run games for a lifetime, the Cardinals are looking at a tense stretch run if they want to make the playoffs. 

“Every game is so important right now,” Jay said. “Just have to keep playing hard, and every game is a big game.”

Luckily for St. Louis, the 25-year-old is playing like it’s already October. 


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(kmov.com)
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Jon Jay delivers late as Cardinals rally past Pirates 3-2

JonJayCards
PITTSBURGH — Jon Jay already had a bat in hand before St. Louis Cardinals manager Mike Matheny even called his name.

A minute later the veteran outfielder was standing on second base after his pinch hit tied the game. Jay didn't stay there long, racing home with the go-ahead run on Matt Holliday's sharp single in a 3-2 victory over the Pittsburgh Pirates on Monday night.

"He just sensed," Matheny said of Jay's precocious grab of the bat. "We hadn't had any interaction at that point. He's smart, he knows the game."

And the Cardinals know a thing or two about coming through late. St. Louis scored all three runs off reliever Jared Hughes (6-4) with two outs in the seventh inning to back John Lackey and send the scuffling Pirates to their seventh loss in 10 games.

Lackey (2-1) worked out of trouble early to last seven innings in his second victory for the Cardinals after arriving in a trade from Boston on July 31. He was 11-7 with the Red Sox.

Trevor Rosenthal gave up a leadoff home run in the ninth to Andrew McCutchen but held on to earn his 39th save.

"I think guys know when we have a pitcher like Lackey on the mound, he's going to keep us in the game," Matheny said. "We've just got to keep fighting and figure out a way to get something going."

Pedro Alvarez hit his 18th homer in the second off Lackey, but the Pirates managed little after that to fall further behind St. Louis and first-place Milwaukee in the NL Central race.

Pirates starter Francisco Liriano overwhelmed St. Louis for six-plus innings before leaving after Kolten Wong's infield single led off the seventh. Hughes came on and promptly picked off Wong.

Things didn't work out so well for the normally dependable right-hander, however, when he went to the plate.

Tony Cruz started the game-changing rally by turning an 0-2 count into a single, moved to second on a sacrifice bunt and scored on a sharply hit single by Jay. Holliday then gave St. Louis the lead with a grounder past shortstop Jordy Mercer. St. Louis has 209 RBIs this season with two outs, tops in the National League.

"It was just a night where (Hughes) couldn't get the ball where he wanted to go," Pirates manager Clint Hurdle said.

The cushion was more than enough for Lackey, who had little trouble after navigating a choppy second inning. Alvarez hit a long home run to center with one out, and infield hits by Starling Marte and Jordy Mercer followed. The runners moved up on a sacrifice by Liriano, but Josh Harrison's sharply hit fly to left went right to Holliday.

Lackey settled down following the reprieve, not allowing a runner past first base over his final five innings. He walked one and struck out three to improve to 3-0 against National League teams this season.

"I think Tony and I made some good adjustments after the first time through the lineup," Lackey said. "The last three innings were as good as I felt."


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(startribune.com)
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Jon Jay proving last year was a fluke, not the start of a trend

JonJayCards
ST. LOUIS, Mo. (BaseballSTL) -- From the day Jon Jay was drafted out of the University of Miami in the 2nd round of the 2006 MLB Draft he did nothing but hit.  It wasn’t flashy.  It wasn’t the type of swing where you’d drop your jaw and think you were watching the next Albert Pujols or even Jim Edmonds.

But he hit.  He hit .300 practically with his eyes closed.  And his defense was almost always above average.  Jay played a large role in the Cardinals trading Ryan Ludwick back in 2010 and Colby Rasmus in 2011.  

2012 was Jay’s breakout season.  He hit .305 in 443 at-bats with a .373 on-base percentage and a career high 3.2 WAR (wins above replacement).

Then 2013 happened.  It was bad.  The numbers (.276 average with a 1.5 WAR) don’t tell the entire story.  Jay got worn out by year’s end.  His defense, particularly in the postseason, was atrocious.  The downward spiral the Cardinals took offensively had as much to do with Jay’s performance as it was anyone else.  Fans were ready to exile him to Siberia in favor of almost anyone else.

Well, they got their wish in the offseason when the Cards traded for Peter Bourjos from the Angels.  That was supposed to be it for Jay.  Bourjos was going to come in and be the speedy center fielder who would at the very least play defense like Jim Edmonds and steal bases when he got on.

Something unexpected happened right out of the gate, however, in spring training.

Jay bounced back and outplayed Bourjos.  And it wasn’t even close.

This year the 29-year old from Miami is having a year that’s rivaling that breakout 2012.  Through 300 Abs he’s hitting .313 with a .385 on-base percentage and already is worth 2.5 wins above replacement.  He’ll never hit for a whole lot of power (just 15 doubles, 2 triples and 3 home runs) and he doesn’t steal bases (just 6).  

But Jay is playing terrific defense again and he’s provided some stability to center field.  That’s something this team hasn’t had since, well, his 2012 season.

Unfortunately, due to Jay’s lack of power and stolen base ability he’ll always be someone the team looks to improve upon if it can.  Should a top flight center fielder become available on the free agent market the Cards could be interested due to their flexibility with the budget.

A power hitting center fielder or at least one who steals 30-40 bases would really be nice to have.  And at Jay’s best, he’s never going to be that.  If he was going to become that he would have already by the age of 29.  

But in the time it takes the Cardinals to locate and actually pull the trigger on someone who can become the next star out in center, Jay is proving he can be a very nice complementary piece to this team.  

He’s been doing it – save for one bad season in 2013 – for a half decade.


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(knmov.com)
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Jon Jay emerging as force in Cards' lineup

JonJayCards
ST. LOUIS -- Having started the season with little promise of playing time and work to do to move up the depth chart, Jon Jay has recently become the toughest out in the Cardinals' lineup.

Now entrenched as the team's starting center fielder, Jay extended his season-best hitting streak to 12 games with a single in his second at-bat on Wednesday night and then followed that with hits in two of his next three to finish the homestand 11-for-19. He reached base another eight times by being hit by pitches six times and walking twice.

In three of the six starts he made during the team's 6-1 homestand, Jay was on base four times. His batting average has climbed to .313, which would rank as second-best in the National League if he had enough plate appearances to qualify for that leader board.

"Jon had a very good day for us again," manager Mike Matheny said after his club's 7-3 win vs. the Reds. "He continues to put together tough at-bats."
Said Jay of his recent production: "I don't look at that. I'm just trying to help the team win games."

A table-setter atop the lineup for most of his career, Jay has emerged a run-producer while batting lower in the order this season. He returned to the two-hole on Wednesday, though that move was dictated primarily by Kolten Wong's absence and was one that Matheny suggested would be short-term.

"We needed someone in that spot. With Jon's ability to get on base, it fits," Matheny said of the lineup shuffle. "There's conversations that we've had about whether [having Jay hit second] would be a better fit right now, but if it didn't look like our offense was doing a nice job of clicking, it would be a greater discussion."


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(cardinals.com)
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Time to move Jon Jay up in the order?

JonJayCards
Center fielder Jon Jay is hitting .400 in August, so moving him up in the lineup might be a good idea. Jay is 13 for 28 (.464) in has last 10 games and has boosted his season average to .304 — second only to Matt Adams (.311) on the team. 

Matt Holliday looked fresh Monday (2 for 4 with a walk and two runs scored) after taking Sunday off to rest nagging knee soreness.


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(stltoday.com)
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Jon Jay keeps delivering key hits with both his bat and his (bruised) body

JonJayCards
ST. LOUIS -- In what almost qualifies as a news flash these days, Cardinals out fielder Jon Jay was not hit by a pitch Sunday. His body certainly could use a respite after being plunked five times in the previous four days.  

In another development that hardly qualifies as a news flash these days, Jay delivered another big hit for the Cardinals on Sunday. His two-run single was the key blow in a four-run first inning that started the Cardinals on the way to a 5-0 lead that ended up a 7-6 victory over the Padres. Jay's two first-inning RBI came three days after he came through with a two-run double in the eighth inning that turned a 3-2 deficit into a 4-3 victory over San Diego.

Thanks in no small part to Jay, the Cardinals won three out of four against the Padres to take some momentum into a three-game series against the struggling Reds, who were swept in a doubleheader at Colorado and dropped 8 1/2 games out of first place. On a day when Trevor Rosenthal threatened to blow a three-run lead for the Cardinals, Reds closer Aroldis Chapman walked the first four Rockies he faced and the Reds blew a four-run lead in the ninth to lose, 10-9. A 10-5 loss in the second game sends Cincinnati to Busch Stadium with seven losses in their past nine games.

The Cardinals still trail the first-place Brewers by three games but have built a 2 1/2-game lead on third-place Pittsburgh and a 5 1/2-game cushion on fourth-place Cincinnati.

Jay has done his part in helping the Cardinals to a strong start in a weeklong homestand.

After adding a seventh-inning single, Jay upped his batting average to .500 during a season-best, nine-game hitting streak in which he has driven in nine runs and scored eight. The career .294 hitter also raised his average for the season to .304, just four points behind team leader Matt Adams. Thanks in part to the HBPs, Jay has improved his on-base percentage to .372, just four points behind team leader Matt Carpenter.

For a guy who was supposed to have lost his job last offseason, the University of Miami's proudest alum is doing pretty darn well.

"He's having a nice year," manager Mike Matheny said Sunday. "Just look at what he's been able to do. I like the way he's going about it defensively, too."

No one seems overly bothered that Jay is getting hit almost as often as he is delivering hits. He has moved into the major-league lead with 14 HBPs this season, giving him an NL-most 43 over the past three seasons.

"He doesn't do a lot of bailing out when the ball comes at him," Matheny said. "Jon stays in there and takes it, not that he's leaning over the plate. But if they miss in at him, he's going to go ahead and wear it. They keep missing more on him than anybody else."

Added Jay: "Guys are going to throw inside to try to get me out. Sometimes they're going to miss inside. It's part of it. It's not a big deal to me. There's no secret or anything, and it's not like I'm trying to go up there and get hit by a pitch."

He was smiling as he talked, more pleased to be getting on base than perturbed by any pain he has absorbed. As he pointed out, the errant pitches have hit him on the lower half, where there is considerably more padding than the rest of the body.

"It always hurts," Jay said. "I've got a couple of bruises here and there, nothing too bad. "I've been pretty fortunate that it hasn't been anything too serious. Hopefully, it stays that way."

Don't look for the lefty hitter to back off the plate or change his approach in the batter's box. He says getting plunked has been part of his game since his days at The U and he understands it is part of the hazards of a high OBP.

"I don't change. I'm going to keep doing the same things I always do," he said. "Just stay in there and have a good at-bat, try to let the ball get deep."
Positive -- though sometimes painful -- things will happen, based on recent results.  


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(foxsports.com)
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Jon Jay plunked twice in back-to-back games

JonJayCards
ST. LOUIS -- Jon Jay wore a bit of Cardinals' history on Saturday night after he was once again hit by a pair of Padres pitchers. The same thing had happened a day earlier, too, making Jay the franchise's only player in at least 100 years to be hit by multiple pitches in consecutive games.

The accomplishment, if it can be described as such, was last achieved in 2000 by Houston's Craig Biggio, who was hit by pitches 285 times in his career. That is second most in Major League history.

As for Jay's recent propensity to take pitches off his body?

"He's a magnet for whatever reason," manager Mike Matheny said. "There are guys who are crowding and won't budge. It seems to be down low, which is obviously where a lot of guys are trying to pitch him. When they miss, they pull it a little bit much. He doesn't mind getting on base, I know that."

Jay has been hit a Major League-most 14 times this season, equaling the number of plunkings he took last season. In 2012, Jay was hit 15 times, fifth most in the Majors.


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(mlb.com)
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Jon Jay's 2-run double lifts Cardinals over Padres 4-3

JonJayCards
ST. LOUIS — Pinch-hitter Jon Jay wasn't choosy when he came up to bat for the Cardinals in the eighth inning.

Jay delivered a two-run double on the first pitch and right fielder Shane Robinson threw out the potential tying run at the plate in the ninth to help St. Louis hold off the San Diego Padres 4-3 Thursday night.

"I was trying to be aggressive," Jay said. "I wanted something over the plate I could handle. I was able to do that."

Jhonny Peralta hit an early two-run homer for the Cardinals, who moved ahead of Pittsburgh into second place in the NL Central. St. Louis remained two games behind division-leading Milwaukee.

San Diego had its five-game winning streak snapped and fell to 16-9 since the All-Star break.

Trailing by two in the ninth, the Padres loaded the bases with one out against closer Trevor Rosenthal. Pinch-hitter Jake Goebbert came through with an RBI single to right, but Alexi Amarista was cut down at home when he tried to score from second.

The replay review lasted 4 minutes, 9 seconds. Padres manager Bud Black then was ejected by plate umpire Bob Davidson for continuing to argue the call.

"You saw two major league players react to a play that indicated that a tag was missed," Black said. "You saw their catcher go back and try to tag our runner because he knew he missed him. You saw our player react knowing that he wasn't tagged. So you saw two experienced major league players react to a play that they both knew wasn't a tag.

"That's what's frustrating to us."

Cardinals catcher A.J. Pierzynski, who entered in the ninth, disagreed.

"I thought I got his arm," Pierzynski said. "I couldn't hear Bob. It was a big play in the game for sure. I couldn't see the umpire who was behind me. You just go. You hope they stay with the call. I think they got it right."

After a four-pitch walk to Will Venable loaded the bases again, Rosenthal struck out Tommy Medica for his 36th save in 40 opportunities.


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(bnd.com)
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Jon Jay drives in winning run in return to lineup

JonJayCards
Jon Jay drove in the game-winning run with an RBI single in the eighth inning of Tuesday's game against the Red Sox.

Jay was back in the lineup for the first time since July 29 as he'd been dealing with left wrist soreness, and he came up with a big two-out hit against Red Sox reliever Junichi Tazawa to give the Cardinals the win. The single was Jays' only hit in four at-bats on the night. The 29-year-old is hitting .288/.345/.366 and should get the majority of the playing time in center field moving forward if his wrist is right.


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(rotoworld.com)
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Jon Jay Out For Fifth Straight Game

JonJayCards
NEWS UPDATE
Jay (wrist) is not in the lineup Sunday versus the Brewers, Jim Hayes of the FOX Sports Midwest reports.

ROTOWIRE FANTASY ANALYSIS
Jay will miss a fifth straight game as he tends to the wrist ailment. Peter Bourjos picks up another start in center field in his place.


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(rotowire.com)
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VIDEO: Jon Jay doesn't notice ball four, strikes out on 4-2 count

JonJayCards
Watch baseball long enough and you’ll see pretty much everything the game has to offer. Like a guy striking out in a 4-2 count.

In the seventh inning of the Cardinals-Rays game in St. Louis on Wednesday, Jon Jay worked a full count against starter Alex Cobb. The next pitched missed the zone outside. That should have resulted in a walk, given that it was the fourth ball and all. Instead everyone -- Jay, the home plate umpire, Cardinals manager Mike Matheny -- forgot the count. Jay remained at the plate and struck out on the next pitch.

Vine courtesy of The Sporting News’ Ryan Fagan:



As you can see in the video, the only person who seemed to notice it was ball four was the graphics guy on Fox Sports Midwest. Matheny took blame for the miscue after the game.


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(si.com)
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Challenged for his job, Jay produces -- again

JonJayCards
If there is music thumping and sometimes spraying Iggy Azalea’s latest in the Cardinals’ clubhouse, it’s Jon Jay’s speakers at work. He is the self-appointed and uncontested clubhouse DJ. He popularized the term “Memphis Mafia” for his generation of Cardinals and even had T-shirts made. The nascent tradition that is High Socks Sundays, where players tug their pant cuffs up their calves to show the ringtails of their stirrups — he started it and coined the hashtag, “#highsocksunday”. He had T-shirts made for that, too.

He bats second and sometimes seventh. He plays center and sometimes right. He is the Cardinals’ player rep to the union, their shoe fashionista, an unofficial ambassador for Miami, and Friday he teased his hair as he waited to stand in the background of a music video being shot at Busch Stadium by Yadier Molina’s record label. Jon Jay has many roles for the Cardinals and his career shows that midway through the season he annually claims one more.
Starter.

“It’s unfortunate that he’s had to prove himself every single year except for maybe last year (2013),” said infielder Daniel Descalso, a close friend and member of the “Mafia.” “It seems like people always want to write him off. He always shows up. He’s the same guy. He puts up the numbers, goes out there, and does a lot of the things that help us win. That’s despite what people may say or think.”

More than what they said or thought, it’s what the Cardinals did this past winter that put Jay, the team’s incumbent center fielder, in a familiar position — challenged. The Cardinals traded David Freese and Fernando Salas for outfielders Peter Bourjos and Randal Grichuk. Bourjos, a gifted defender, was a candidate for Jay’s position and Grichuk, a power prospect, was going to man center in Class AAA. With one trade, Jay lost a member of the “Mafia,” saw the true cost of a rising salary, and became bracketed by the potential present and future of his position.

How he has responded so far this season is familiar. For the third time in his career he’s emerged from a duel with a starter’s playing time. He took a .305 average into this weekend and had started 20 of the Cardinals’ previous 26 games.

“For me, it’s nothing personal,” Jay said, “It’s just a reason to work.”

“What we’ve seen around here is better than what he gets credit for,” manager Mike Matheny said. “As an organization we always want to figure out how we can get better and how we can complement what we have and the opportunity was there to bring in an exciting player like Peter. But I think everybody was running in the direction that we’ve turned the page (on Jay). I didn’t think that was fair.”

Jay, 29, started 21 of the team’s first 41 games before a surge that put him back, regularly, in the lineup. Entering Friday’s game against Philadelphia, Jay had hit .342 (25-for-73) over his previous 23 games. He turned production in those games into a recent run as the team’s No. 2 hitter, where Jay had a single and was hit by a pitch Friday.

He has wrested starts away from Bourjos and ascended to a primo spot in the order.

“The answer is yes it’s been beneficial — in two ways,” general manager John Mozeliak said. “One, for his own personal career, and he’s showing he’s a productive player. But, two, through this whole team concept we have is about getting opportunities. He is in the first third of the lineup and he’s been able to produce in a demanding time. He’s obviously had a good few weeks. I hope we continue to have production out of center field.”

The few good weeks hint at a contour that Jay has followed before. From 2010 to 2013, Jay started 54.0 percent of the Cardinals’ first-half games. During those same four seasons, he started 82.1 percent of the club’s second-half games. In 2010, his play made it possible to trade Ryan Ludwick for pitcher Jake Westbrook. In 2011, it was Jay who had pushed for playing time in center before the Cardinals sent Colby Rasmus to Toronto in the deal that defined a World Series championship team.

In 2012, Jay was a regular but won the open leadoff job in September and hit .310 with a .370 on-base percentage.

“I think that’s all coincidence,” Jay said.

A former teammate said “too often the media is quick to dismiss the importance of a player like Jay and what it means to be on winning teams.” Jay has been a constant for this current run of contending clubs. His 160 at-bats in the postseason are the fourth-most for the Cardinals since 2011’s run, and he’s one of two players remaining on the club who have played in all of the team’s playoff games since 2011. Molina is the other.

Yet, the Cardinals looked to replace Jay.

“This is probably the most frustrating spring of Jon’s career just from the fact that it looked like he was being painted into a corner,” Matheny said. “As much as we were trying to tell him differently, the opportunities were saying a different story.”

He entered last season as the unquestioned starter and struggled, reworking his swing on the job and slogging through the slump that caused. He revived at the plate in the second half with a .311 average and finished with 67 RBIs.

His defense lagged — a career-low minus-8 Runs Saved, per Baseball Info Solutions — and as the Cardinals sought an upgrade that play gave them an opening.

“I felt that last year was the year that is going to help me for the rest of my career,” Jay said. “Dealing with stuff. Learning a lot. I had to figure out a way to deal last year with not playing the way you’re capable of playing. That was frustrating.”

The shorter, simplified swing that emerged from that frustration is an asset. It’s something he can repeat, even with sporadic playing time in this season’s first month. He said this winter he had “a better plan” during his cage work. He would work smarter, not longer in the cage. The winter held another lesson for him as well. With the trade of Freese, Jay could see a friend leaving the clubhouse and, if he wanted to look for trends, his potential future.

A year ago, Freese sat in the Cardinals’ clubhouse and assessed his situation. Playing toward a second shot at arbitration and a raise, Freese said he could see Matt Carpenter inheriting his job, as Carpenter said, and “understood with our farm system there are a lot of options out there.” Jay is surrounded by them.
Bourjos. Grichuk.

Oscar Taveras has played center. James Ramsey is blossoming.

Jay received a one-year, $3.25-million contract for this season to avoid an arbitration hearing. He’ll be due another significant raise after this season and could price his way out of the Cardinals’ model, especially if, yet again, they seek a challenger for center. The same vice of progress pinched Skip Schumaker and Freese before him. Jay remains the player rep because the business of the game fascinates him, but it also gives him an understanding of its reality.
“It happens on every team,” Jay said. “Things come out of nowhere that you don’t expect. ... The lesson is you have to prove yourself everyday.”Right now, the clubhouse has given him control of the iPod and his production has him taking control of a role.

He does get a say in how long his music keeps playing.

“The bottom line is when you build a team it’s 25 guys and everybody is going to contribute and everybody is going to have to pitch in,” Jay said. “I’ve said this every year: In October, if we’re in the playoffs, it means I had a pretty good season. I contributed. I have the same goal this season. If when we look up in October and we’re in the postseason that means everybody in this clubhouse did their part, everybody on the roster did their part. We did what we’re supposed to do.”


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(stltoday.com)
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Jon Jay keeps producing

JonJayCards
If there is music thumping and sometimes spraying Iggy Azalea’s latest in the Cardinals’ clubhouse, it’s Jon Jay’s speakers at work. He is the self-appointed and uncontested clubhouse DJ. He popularized the term “Memphis Mafia” for his generation of Cardinals and even had T-shirts made. The nascent tradition that is High Socks Sundays, where players tug their pant cuffs up their calves to show the ringtails of their stirrups — he started it and coined the hashtag, “#highsocksunday”. He had T-shirts made for that, too.

He bats second and sometimes seventh. He plays center and sometimes right. He is the Cardinals’ player rep to the union, their shoe fashionista, an unofficial ambassador for Miami, and Friday he teased his hair as he waited to stand in the background of a music video being shot at Busch Stadium by Yadier Molina’s record label. Jon Jay has many roles for the Cardinals and his career shows that midway through the season he annually claims one more.
Starter.

“It’s unfortunate that he’s had to prove himself every single year except for maybe last year (2013),” said infielder Daniel Descalso, a close friend and member of the “Mafia.” “It seems like people always want to write him off. He always shows up. He’s the same guy. He puts up the numbers, goes out there, and does a lot of the things that help us win. That’s despite what people may say or think.”

More than what they said or thought, it’s what the Cardinals did this past winter that put Jay, the team’s incumbent center fielder, in a familiar position — challenged. The Cardinals traded David Freese and Fernando Salas for outfielders Peter Bourjos and Randal Grichuk. Bourjos, a gifted defender, was a candidate for Jay’s position and Grichuk, a power prospect, was going to man center in Class AAA. With one trade, Jay lost a member of the “Mafia,” saw the true cost of a rising salary, and became bracketed by the potential present and future of his position.

How he has responded so far this season is familiar. For the third time in his career he’s emerged from a duel with a starter’s playing time. He took a .305 average into this weekend and had started 20 of the Cardinals’ previous 26 games.

“For me, it’s nothing personal,” Jay said, “It’s just a reason to work.”

“What we’ve seen around here is better than what he gets credit for,” manager Mike Matheny said. “As an organization we always want to figure out how we can get better and how we can complement what we have and the opportunity was there to bring in an exciting player like Peter. But I think everybody was running in the direction that we’ve turned the page (on Jay). I didn’t think that was fair.”

Jay, 29, started 21 of the team’s first 41 games before a surge that put him back, regularly, in the lineup. Entering Friday’s game against Philadelphia, Jay had hit .342 (25-for-73) over his previous 23 games. He turned production in those games into a recent run as the team’s No. 2 hitter, where Jay had a single and was hit by a pitch Friday.

He has wrested starts away from Bourjos and ascended to a primo spot in the order.

“The answer is yes it’s been beneficial — in two ways,” general manager John Mozeliak said. “One, for his own personal career, and he’s showing he’s a productive player. But, two, through this whole team concept we have is about getting opportunities. He is in the first third of the lineup and he’s been able to produce in a demanding time. He’s obviously had a good few weeks. I hope we continue to have production out of center field.”

The few good weeks hint at a contour that Jay has followed before. From 2010 to 2013, Jay started 54.0 percent of the Cardinals’ first-half games. During those same four seasons, he started 82.1 percent of the club’s second-half games. In 2010, his play made it possible to trade Ryan Ludwick for pitcher Jake Westbrook. In 2011, it was Jay who had pushed for playing time in center before the Cardinals sent Colby Rasmus to Toronto in the deal that defined a World Series championship team.

In 2012, Jay was a regular but won the open leadoff job in September and hit .310 with a .370 on-base percentage.

“I think that’s all coincidence,” Jay said.

A former teammate said “too often the media is quick to dismiss the importance of a player like Jay and what it means to be on winning teams.” Jay has been a constant for this current run of contending clubs. His 160 at-bats in the postseason are the fourth-most for the Cardinals since 2011’s run, and he’s one of two players remaining on the club who have played in all of the team’s playoff games since 2011. Molina is the other.

Yet, the Cardinals looked to replace Jay.

“This is probably the most frustrating spring of Jon’s career just from the fact that it looked like he was being painted into a corner,” Matheny said. “As much as we were trying to tell him differently, the opportunities were saying a different story.”

He entered last season as the unquestioned starter and struggled, reworking his swing on the job and slogging through the slump that caused. He revived at the plate in the second half with a .311 average and finished with 67 RBIs.

His defense lagged — a career-low minus-8 Runs Saved, per Baseball Info Solutions — and as the Cardinals sought an upgrade that play gave them an opening.

“I felt that last year was the year that is going to help me for the rest of my career,” Jay said. “Dealing with stuff. Learning a lot. I had to figure out a way to deal last year with not playing the way you’re capable of playing. That was frustrating.”

The shorter, simplified swing that emerged from that frustration is an asset. It’s something he can repeat, even with sporadic playing time in this season’s first month. He said this winter he had “a better plan” during his cage work. He would work smarter, not longer in the cage. The winter held another lesson for him as well. With the trade of Freese, Jay could see a friend leaving the clubhouse and, if he wanted to look for trends, his potential future.

A year ago, Freese sat in the Cardinals’ clubhouse and assessed his situation. Playing toward a second shot at arbitration and a raise, Freese said he could see Matt Carpenter inheriting his job, as Carpenter said, and “understood with our farm system there are a lot of options out there.” Jay is surrounded by them.
Bourjos. Grichuk.

Oscar Taveras has played center. James Ramsey is blossoming.

Jay received a one-year, $3.25-million contract for this season to avoid an arbitration hearing. He’ll be due another significant raise after this season and could price his way out of the Cardinals’ model, especially if, yet again, they seek a challenger for center. The same vice of progress pinched Skip Schumaker and Freese before him. Jay remains the player rep because the business of the game fascinates him, but it also gives him an understanding of its reality.

“It happens on every team,” Jay said. “Things come out of nowhere that you don’t expect. ... The lesson is you have to prove yourself everyday.”Right now, the clubhouse has given him control of the iPod and his production has him taking control of a role.

He does get a say in how long his music keeps playing.

“The bottom line is when you build a team it’s 25 guys and everybody is going to contribute and everybody is going to have to pitch in,” Jay said. “I’ve said this every year: In October, if we’re in the playoffs, it means I had a pretty good season. I contributed. I have the same goal this season. If when we look up in October and we’re in the postseason that means everybody in this clubhouse did their part, everybody on the roster did their part. We did what we’re supposed to do.”


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(stltoday.com)
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It's time for Cardinals fans to get over their issues with Jon Jay

JonJayCards
On Monday night St. Louis Cardinals outfielder Jon Jay seemed to put an exclamation point on his argument to be the starting centerfielder for his club.
Jay got on base three times, two by hit and one by a walk, and scored in all three instances. He's batting .307 for the season, nearly 100 points better than his chief competitor for the job, Peter Bourjos who's batting .206 in roughly the same amount of at-bats. Jay's getting on base at a .367 clip while Bourjos has a .279 on base percentage.

It's obvious that the Cardinals have responded to Jay's offensive spark. They've won their last four games -- in which Jay is batting .400. And they have won eight of 11. Over that span he's hitting .406 with a .457 on-base percentage and nine runs scored.

So why do I wake up this morning to read web posts from Cardinals fans who complain that he was unable to throw a runner out at the plate on a sacrifice fly and, therefore, his defense is "killing" the Redbirds?

I'm not up on the Common Core math standards. But my old school calculations tell me that Jay's three runs produces are roughly three times more valuable than the one run the complainers say he cost his team. But let's be realistic, when's the last time you saw a runner thrown out on a sacrifice fly? Does it happen once in 50 attempts? 100? It's obvious the Jay haters are grasping at straws on this occasion.

Earlier this season the contingency of people convinced that Bourjos is the superior player blamed manager Mike Matheny for not giving the imported former Anaheim Angels outfielder enough playing time to get into a groove. So Matheny gave Bourjos a second chance and he still couldn't produce.

From May 17-30 Bourjos played in nine games and had at least three plate appearances in eight those nine contests. He batted .182 with seven strikeouts and two walks. Since then, Bourjos has played about every other day, amassing 34 at-bats in a part time role. He's batting .176. Still he has his faithful supporters.

I remember sitting in the bleachers at a recent game hearing one fan say to another after Jay hit a grounder and got nipped at first by the throw "Bourjos would have beat that out."

The fan on the receiving end of the comment replied "Bourjos would have struck out."

Potential is one thing. Practice is another.

Anyway... I am not here to rip Bourjos. I am here to question why fans are so hostile toward a guy who was good enough to start for two St. Louis teams that made it all the way to the World Series. 

I'm tired of hearing about what a superior outfielder Bourjos is. Regardless of his reputation, I can count his great plays this season on one hand. I am running out of fingers to count the times he's booted or dropped balls or laid up on balls in front of him that he had a chance to catch.

People act like Jay is the worst outfielder who ever lived. He's not, people. He's average at least. We're just spoiled from watching two of the greatest defensive centerfielders who ever lived, Jim Edmonds and Willie McGee. Those guys don't fall off of trucks everyday in front of the ballpark.

I don't want Bourjos to fail. I wish he would have even come close to his spring training boast that he was going to steal 30-40 bases this season. If he did, it would be good for the Cardinals as a whole because that would mean he was getting on base at an acceptable clip and the club would probably be scoring a lot of runs.

He just hasn't lived up to his billing. The season isn't over. Maybe he'll turn it around. But, in the meantime, can folks lay off Jay? Beyond the fact that he's played well enough in his four years in St. Louis to earn some respect from the club's alleged fans, it's obvious that not only has he been playing his butt off, but that he currently represents the best chance for this team to win. And if you've watched a Redbirds game over the last month and you don't realize that, you're in denial.


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Jon Jay won't go away

JonJayCards
Jon Jay appeared to be the odd outfielder out when the Cardinals started the season.

General manager John Mozeliak acquired Peter Bourjos during the winter to play center field this season. A second outfielder acquired in that trade, Randal Grichuk, starred during spring training and moved onto the cusp of promotion.

Both players have excellent outfield range and stronger throwing arms than Jay.

Then there was Oscar Taveras, the franchise's next great hitting prospect. He got back to full speed during spring training and joined Grichuk on the career launching pad. Like Grichuk, he offered a tremendous power potential.

Those players pushed for roles on this year's team while Jay tried to bounce back from a disappointing year. Jay struggled during the first half of last season, hitting .213 in April and .231 in June.

He regrouped to hit .311 after the All-Star break, but then he went 3 for 16 in the NLDS, 4 for 18 in the NLCS and 3 for 18 in the World Series.

Combined with his struggles in center field -- where he misjudged a number of fly balls at inopportune times -- that offensive slippage seemed to doom Jay to a peripheral role at best on this team.

But while those around him struggled this season, Jay regained his familiar offensive and defensive form.

He is hitting .301 in 143 at bats. He still offers only gap power (seven doubles, one triple, one homer), but he has delivered some timely run production.

Jay is doing a much better job of tracking fly balls, too, reaching most balls hit into the gaps and over his head. He is once again serviceable in center field.
As manager Mike Matheny ponders how to realign his roster and lineup with Matt Adams returning from the disabled list, Jay's recent 9-for-22 upturn should factor into the decision-making process.

Matt Holliday isn't hitting like Matt Holliday. Allen Craig isn't hitting like Allen Craig.

But Jon Jay is definitely hitting like Jon Jay, which is one of the bright spots for this puzzling offense. He has played his way back into regular work in center field.

He should stay out there until he plays his way out of that assignment. Since he is 11 for 26 against lefthanded pitchers this season, there is no reason to platoon him with Bourjos right now.

(Peter, by the way, is 9 for 50 against lefties this season. Yikes!)

With Adams injured and the DH slot available, both Jay and Bourjos got an opportunity to play during the American League road swing. Jay fared better, so he should get the at bats until further notice.

Jay's surge also impacts the Taveras/Grichuk dilemma. With Jay deserving to play every day and Matheny feeling no urge to give Holliday or Craig much time off, there are not a many at bats for whomever fills the fifth outfielder slot.

Adams has a .924 OPS against righthanded pitchers, so he needs to start against them at first base. Against left-handed starters, Craig can play first, Jay can play right field and either Bourjos or the fifth outfielder could play center.

It would be much easier to find, say, 20 at-bats per week for Taveras if Jay were struggling. Oscar could start a game per week in center, spell Holliday and Craig from time to time against tough righthanders, start in right field versus lefties and double-switch into some games as a pinch-hitter.

But that plan doesn't make sense with Jay hitting .301 and Taveras 7 for 37 in his first big league tour.

Down the road, Mozeliak will have to sort the pile with a trade or two. For now, the Cardinals need to ride whatever hot hand they can find in the organization.
Right now, Jay is one of those players. Who could have predicted this back in March or April?


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(stltoday.com)
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Give Jon Jay Some Credit

JonJayCards
ST. LOUIS (KSDK) - Jon Jay deserves a break.

What is it about Jay that Cardinals fans find so unappealing? The Cardinals' every day center fielder is quietly putting together another very respectable campaign, slashing .292/.347/.380. And yet no one is noticing.

Somehow, in the court of public opinion, Jay is the weakest link on this team.

I've heard Jay's name pop up in trade talks for the past couple of weeks (namely to Minnesota) and my immediate reaction has been, "good for whoever trades for him."

Jay could be a coup if another team is able to get the Cards the right pieces to acquire him. At present, the Cardinals are rich with outfield depth, churning out more quality prospects than Tom Emanski and possessing the cash flow to lock up anyone they deem worthy of a multi-year contract. That makes Jay easier to pry away for another team than he would be under normal circumstances, but Mozeliak and Co. shouldn't be listening anyway.

It's time for a riddle. What do Chris Davis, Starlin Castro, Allen Craig, Alex Rodriguez, Eric Hosmer, and Adam Dun have in common? They are part of a handful of a very large group of players that have failed to produce as many wins for their club as Jon Jay has since he became an everyday player in 2010. Need some more numbers to prove his worth? Consider these tidbits:
• Among Cardinals, Jay has a lower batting average than only Matt Holliday and Yadier Molina.
• Only Matt Carpenter and Holliday have a higher OBP
• His .355 BABIP indicates his performance has little to do with luck
• You could buy five Jon Jay's for the cost of one Jhonny Peralta
• Jay has a higher slugging percentage than Holliday and Craig

Not the most mind-bending stuff in the world, but it does paint a picture of Jay's value relative to what his team has been doing. Furthermore, the guys that Jay is losing his playing time to, Bourjos, Craig, and Randall Grichuk, are the ones that probably need the most help on the team right now.

This isn't to say that Jay is the man and the Cardinals need to scrap all other centerfield plans to accommodate Jay's Ruthian bat, by any means. I'm just pointing out that he has been more productive and consistent than an awful lot of people give him credit for. Beside all the numbers, Jay has an excellent reputation in the clubhouse and the community and is one of the longest tenured players on the roster. It's not like team chemistry is the type of thing you can ride to a pennant if you aren't stacked with talent, but it's what pushes the special teams over the top. I think losing Carlos Beltran was a much bigger blow to the leadership and accountability of the clubhouse than the loss of the numbers he contributed, and the subtraction of Jay could have a similar effect.

So be critical, Cardinals fans; question everything, but recognize the individual talents of each player and understand what their role is and what is expected of him. Jon Jay is doing the job the team expects him to as much as anyone else in the lineup.


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(ksdk.com)
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In praise of Jon Jay

JonJayCards
I've been tough on center fielder Jon Jay, but I try to be fair, and to that end I have to say he's really been one of the Cardinals' best players so far in 2014 ... and one of the most consistent Cardinals, too.

Granted, that isn't saying much considering the dull showing of the STL offense. But in terms of Cards' position players that are at least playing up to their ability level, it's difficult to find fault with Jay's performance. He's done a nice job so far. 

Compared to most of the Cardinals' hitters, Jay isn't having an underachieving season. He's doing well. And this, despite the attempts to basically phase Jay out or at least greatly reduce his playing time.

Some small-sample factoids on Jay's 2014: 
• With a .295 batting average he's outhitting Matt Holliday, Allen Craig and Jhonny Peralta, among others. 
• Jay's .352 onbase percentage is topped only by Matt Carpenter (.393) and Holliday (.376.) 
• Jay's .388 slugging percentage puts him above Craig (.375), Holliday (.369) 
• In 73 plate appearances since April 30, Jay is batting .333 with a .384 OBP and .409 SLG. 
• Jay's .740 OPS ranks fourth among Cardinals' regulars. 
• Jay has driven in 17 of 104 runners on base; that may not look like much but that "OBI" (others batted in) percent of 16.3 % is the best among Cards' hitters that have at least 100 plate appearances. 
• Jay has been effective coming off the bench, going 9 for 20 (.450) after entering the game as a substitute.
• When he leads off an inning,  Jay is 8 for 20, or .400.
• In "late and close" situations Jay is 3 for 10, or .300. 
• With runners in scoring position and two out, Jay is 6 for 18, or .333. 

The Cardinals acquired CF Peter Bourjos from the Angels to displace Jay. Rookie outfelder Randal Grichuk was included in that trade. The Cardinals twice have promoted Grichuk from the minors and given him a few opportunities to start in center. 

But in games in which they've played center field, Bourjos and Grichuk have combined to go 29 for 141 (.205) with 45 strikeouts. Bourjos' overall strikeout rate of 29.4 percent is the 23rd highest (worst) K rate among MLB hitters with at least 100 plate appearances so far. 

Jay has been OK defensively, not nearly as good as Bourjos in the metric valuations. But is minus 3 rating in the John Dewan plus-minus system isn't atrocious. 

Please understand what I'm saying here ...

I'm not saying Jay is a great player who should be in there every day no matter what. I'm not saying Jay should be the CF for the rest of the year, or next season. 

But based on his track record and reasonable expectations, Jay is doing his part to help the Cardinals. He's getting his job done. And that's more than most Cardinals can say right now. 


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(stltoday.com)
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Twins thought to be interested in Jon Jay

JonJayCards
No sooner did Oscar Taveras arrive in St. Louis than the ESPN radio affiliate in Minneapolis/St. Paul reported that the Minnesota Twins may be interested in Cardinals outfielder Jon Jay.

Jay, 28, is batting .288 with one homer and 18 runs batted in so far this season with the Redbirds. He is a career .292 hitter with a .355 on-base percentage. But he found himself in a time share in centerfield this season with former Anaheim Angel Peter Bourjos who is batting .204 with a .274 on base percentage this year.

Both Taveras and fellow rookie Randal Grichuk are capable of playing centerfield and figure to fight with the two veteran outfielders (and slugging first baseman/outfielder Allen Craig when Matt Adams comes off the disabled list) for two slots in the outfield.

Someone needs to go. But I'm not sure it's Jay because of his vastly superior offensive numbers. The statistics say that Bourjos is the best outfielder in the group. But his play this season hasn't lived up to his reputation. He has a knack for falling short of fly balls and has made a couple of ugly plays including a dive in which he missed connections with the baseball Friday night.

I'm not sure that Bourjos, who was supposedly happy to escape Anaheim because he was never able to hold onto a spot in the starting lineup there, would be content to be a fifth outfielder in St. Louis. On the other hand, he probably has virtually no trade value at this point. So would the Cardinals release him for nothing in return?

I thought, dating back to last season, that Adams was the mostly likely to go because he can only play first base and he's a lefty hitter. With the lefty Taveras in the lineup alongside Kolten Wong, Matt Carpenter and potentially Jay, that's too many lefties.

If Adams was traded to a team that needs a slugging first baseman/designated hitter type, Allen Craig's righty bat could return to first base and there would be room for Taveras to play every day in right.

But Adams' recent injury probably takes him off the trade market. And I wonder if his value has cratered because he's chosen to become an opposite field singles hitter instead of a pull-happy slugger.

If the Cardinals were to trade with Minnesota, I wonder what Jay could fetch in return. Fans on the Twins chat boards seemed to think that a middling prospect sounded fair. Although other snarkily suggested that the Twins should offer former catcher Joe Mauer who is off to a slow start in his role as a converted first baseman.

Ironically, Mauer was the American League answer to Albert Pujols when the pair were nearing free agency at the same time, threatening to leave their small market clubs. Mauer signed with the Twins before he hit the open market -- and now Minnesota seems to regret his crippling contract -- while Pujols walked and the Cardinals were able to gain some financial flexibility to extend Adam Wainwright and Yadier Molina.


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(bnd.com)
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Jon Jay getting consistent starts in crowded outfield

JonJayCards
ST LOUIS -- In a crowded outfield, Jon Jay has started to emerge as a player who will continue to receive consistent playing time.

"Obviously Jon's swinging the bat well," manager Mike Matheny said. "[He] had another big hit [Friday] night and continues to make the most of the opportunities he's had."

Over the last nine games entering Sunday's series finale against the Giants, Jay has hit .370 (10-for-27), making starts in six of nine games. Off the bench, the prototypical center fielder has gone 4-for-4.

Since the recent additions of young outfielders Randal Grichuk and Oscar Taveras on Friday and Saturday, Jay has started in center on both Saturday and Sunday.

"I just show up every day ready to go," Jay said. "I've been working hard, so I'm trying to stay ready."

Even while the Cardinals will work to get at-bats for their young outfielders, another spot in the lineup will present itself beginning Wednesday, when the Cardinals play in American League ballparks with a designated hitter spot for seven games.


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(cardinals.com)
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Starts in center swing Jon Jay's way

JonJayCards
When Cardinals center fielder Jon Jay took the plunge last summer and agreed to overhaul his swing in the middle of a season, hitting coach John Mabry kept reassuring him that the season is long and full of opportunities to gather hits. His would be there, eventually.

That reminder still echoes into this season.

Only it’s playing time, not just hits, that may be there in the end.

“He kept telling me, ‘You’re going to do your part. Put in the work,’” Jay said Tuesday before his start against the Yankees at Busch Stadium. “I’ve always been confident in my abilities as a player. Even as I struggled, I knew that it was part of my growth in the big leagues. It was something I had to get over. I went through a tough stretch and I had to fight through it.”

Jay merited the start Tuesday after entering Monday’s game in the 10th inning and going two for two with a double in the Cardinals’ 6-4 loss. Jay drove in the Cardinals’ one extra-inning run. The late-game production came after his last-minute start Saturday and the three-hit outing he had that day, spelling ill starter Peter Bourjos. Jay has had similar surges already this season, and each has been marked by an increase in playing time.

Entering the year, manager Mike Matheny discussed how there would be times he’d base the starts in center on “the hot hand” and other times when he’d let Bourjos and Jay both start for a stretch. Bourjos has received increased starts recently as the Cardinals seek to see the kind of results he gives with regular playing time — and where prospects Randal Grichuk and Oscar Taveras could fit in as June approaches.

Jay has had to adjust from starter to time-share.

“What I try explaining to all of these guys is the idea is to take advantage of the opportunities,” Matheny said. “We’ve put Jon in some big spots — whether it’s a pinch-hit role or as a defensive replacement that ends up getting some at-bats. He ends up going about it very well, as expected. That’s all we can ask of him.”
This recent jag of production has raised Jay’s average to .294 from .267 in the span of seven games (three starts). While not in a strict platoon with the righthanded-hitting Bourjos, Jay has had limited exposure to lefties this season, but has hit .381 (eight for 21). He’s also posted a .348 on-base percentage against righties.

The reason behind the success in scattered starts goes back to the swing.

What Mabry and Jay set out to do last season was simplify the center fielder’s swing, reducing the churning motion of his hands — “helicopter hands,” Jay once called them — and making his timing better at the plate. The reward was a .311 average with a .379 on-base percentage in the second half. The residual effect has been a swing that he can keep going even if the at-bats are sporadic.“It’s easy to maintain your swing when you’re seeing pitches every day and doing things,” Jay said. “But I simplified it last year — that was the process — and by really learning my swing, what I want to do and why, that’s allowed me to know how you keep it going. Whenever my name is called, I’m trying to do the best I can.”


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(stltoday.com)
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Jon Jay to see more time

JonJayCards
St. Louis Cardinals OF Jon Jay has taken over the platoon situation in center field over OF Peter Bourjos, and manager Mike Matheny plans on riding Jay's hot stick. "We're getting the guys in there who are taking good at-bats. Jon Jay has been taking some good at-bats," Matheny said. "Allen Craig has turned the corner and right now looks good in that second hole. Peter Bourjos is going to get good opportunities against a left-hander tomorrow. But right now Jon is taking the kind of at-bats we've got to capitalize on. We've got to get something going. Any guy in that lineup has potential to get us going." Jay is batting sixth Tuesday, April 22.

Fantasy Tip: If you own Bourjos in a mixed league, now is the time to start looking elsewhere, as long as Jay remains hot and in the good graces of the skipper.


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(kffl.com)
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Jon Jay called. He wants his job back.

JonJayCards
It's funny the difference a little bit of time can back. In 2012, the St. Louis Cardinals centerfielder Jon Jay was on top of the world.

Riding the wave of the organization's 11th world championship, Jay had a career season. Over the course of the year, he became one of the league's best leadoff men.

Hitting .305 with 19 stolen bases in 2013, Jay was on top of the world. There were even talks of him being in the running for a Gold Glove award.
While his glove was solid, Jay's arm left something to be desired.

How quickly things can change.

In 2013, Jay's defense took a serious hit. Both his arm and range seemed to decrease substantially, with little patience from the Cardinals fan base.

Offensively, he declined somewhat as well, but not as much as the hype would have one to believe.

A career .293 hitter, Jay batted .276 in 2013. Despite the lower average, he had 67 RBI (an increase of 27 over the previous season) and nearly doubled his home run total to seven.

Regardless of his offense, to go from being considered a possible Gold Glove-caliber outfielder to being a fourth outfielder at best is quite the slide.

With the Cardinals trading for Peter Bourjos, Jay was given some legitimate competition for 2014. So far, he's making a case that he should be back in the lineup.

And he started making that case early this year.

Since April 12, Jay is batting .346 with a home run and five RBI. He's not crushing the ball, but he is getting on base consistently.

Defensively, he's still struggling—but that's taking a back seat at the moment because Bourjos' offense has been slow to get going.

Batting only .190 through 42 at bats, Bourjos is still getting acclimated to his new team and home field. The season is still young and the front office still seems committed to giving him time to get warmed up, no position is guaranteed in this organization.

He who earns the job, will hold the position.

For now, Bourjos has the slot, but if he doesn't heat up soon that could change quickly.

At least, it will if Jon Jay has anything to say about it.


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(ksdk.com)
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Jon Jay seeing more starts in center field

JonJayCards
Jon Jay has started three of the last four games in center field for the Cardinals.

Manager Mike Matheny is simply playing the hot hand, as Jay has four hits -- including a three-run homer -- in 12 at-bats over that stretch. "Jon has done a nice job, and I think that is something that all these guys need to know from us," Matheny said. "It is, ‘What do I need to get an opportunity to play?’ Jon had four quality at-bats (Wednesday). It’s a good day for him to keep that swing going." With the Nationals starting lefty Gio Gonzalez Friday, Peter Bourjos should be back manning center field.


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(rotoworld.com)
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Jon Jay hits three-run homer in win

JonJayCards
Jon Jay got the start in center on Monday and hit a three-run homer off the Brewers' Matt Garza.

Jay has started five of the Cardinals' 13 games so far, with four of those coming in center. That's probably a bit more than he should play over Peter Bourjos, but the Cardinals do want to keep Bourjos healthy. Obviously, it worked out nicely tonight, with Jay making his first big contribution of the year.


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(rotoworld.com)
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Jon Jay gets rare start in right for Cards

JonJayCards
Jon Jay will make his first start in right field for the Cardinals since 2011 in today's series finale against the Reds. First pitch is at 12:45 p.m. (FSM)

Jay has made appearances in right field since then -- he's been there twice already this season -- but has started only in center field since the Cardinals traded Colby Rasmus in 2011.

With the acquisition of Peter Bourjos, that might be a more commonplace event this season. Bourjos will start again in center field today.

Starting Jay in right field means a day off for Allen Craig (3 for 31, .097) and moves Matt Adams up to the cleanup spot against Reds righthander Mike Leake.
"I just wanted to get Jay going and I definitely wanted to get Allen Craig going," manager Mike Matheny said. "Sometimes a couple days -- I'm not saying we won't see Allen late in the game -- some time to get in here and get some extra swings, get out of the routine that isn't working for him right now. He's real close. He really is. I know he feels it. We're seeing some things that look like it. It's kind of breaking it up and giving him a couple days to get some things changed."

Craig has just one hit in his past 20 at-bats.

"It's amazing how it's magnified when it's at the beginning of the season," Matheny said. "This happens in June, July, people just say it's a little rut. Everyone wants to have a good start, no question. He'll be fine. You just have to go through it, figure it out, he'll be right where he's always been. ... It's confidence, rhythm. There a number of different things that go into it and none of them feel right for him right now. You're going to have those. I don't care how much success you've had or how long you've played. It's inevitable. It's just a matter of how quick you can get through it."

Jay, meanwhile, has had just eight at-bats in the first eight games. He's hitting .250 with two runs batted in.

Otherwise, the lineup is pretty similar to what Matheny used on Tuesday night. With an off day on Thursday, Yadier Molina will start behind the plate for the day game after the night game.


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(stltoday.com)
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Jon Jay is Making a Case to Start for St. Louis Cardinals

JonJayCards
St Louis Cardinals outfielder Jon Jay used to be the starting center fielder. He lost that job in Spring Training to Peter Bourjos, whom the Cardinals acquired from the Los Angeles Angels for David Freese. Although he had a terrible spring, Jay is making the most of his opportunities so far in this young season.

Jay does not have the speed or range of Bourjos. What he does have are reliability and durability. Jay holds the NL record for errorless games by a center fielder at 245. He has only one stint on the DL, when he injured his shoulder in 2012 running into the wall at Busch Stadium. He’s a somewhat streaky hitter, but he often gets clutch hits. In his two starts so far this year, he has two RBIs and they were key. Both times the Cardinals were behind and Jay’s hits tied the game.

Bourjos is getting off to a very slow start for his new team. Pitchers Adam Wainwright and Joe Kelly have more hits than he does. He has one error, although it was on a ball that Jay might not have gotten to. His speed on the bases will be exciting to see if he ever gets on. As the old saying is that you can’t steal first base.

It’s clear so far in this young season that Jay is not going to ride the bench without a fight. That’s a good attitude for him to have, because even more competition may be coming his way soon.


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(rantsports.com)
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Jon Jay gets a run in right field, batting second

JonJayCards
Most of the time manager Mike Matheny intends to keep his corner outfielders in place in the lineup -- and thus, in place in the field -- but there will be times when center fielders Peter Bourjos and Jon Jay are both roaming the field at the same time.

Matheny said at those times "there's not reason" Bourjos won't be in center.

Jay gets to go retro, back to his days as the moveable outfielder.

This afternoon, the Cardinals "visit" the Miami Marlins for an exhibition game at Roger Dean Stadium and both Bourjos and Jay are in the starting lineup. Jay is in right. Lance Lynn makes his penultimate start of spring training and will be shooting for that 80-pitch mark reached yesterday by Carlos Martinez.

Bourjos is considered one of the superior defensive players in the game, able to expand his range in center because of his speed. Jay has cracked the Cardinals' lineup several times before as a fourth outfielder-type, first edging Ryan Ludwick for playing time in right field and then replacing Colby Rasmus as the full-time center fielder after playing well enough to allow that trade in 2011. Matheny has talked about how all three of his center fielders -- Bourjos, Jay, and Shane Robinson -- could play all three spots in the field, of course, but if any combination of the three is going to be in the field at the same time, it will be Bourjos in center.

"This guy is here as a plus plus defender when he comes into the game there is little reason not to put him in center field," Matheny said several days ago. "Even if he comes into a game where Jon is in center and maybe we do some defensive replacements, it makes a whole lot more sense to move Jon around and keep Peter in center."

Those situations would include when Allen Craig shifts to first base out of right field and replaces Matt Adams. That could be in a game against a lefty or late in a game for defensive purposes.


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(stltoday.com)
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Jon Jay seeing new positions, showing versatility

JonJayCards
(BaseballStL) -- Jon Jay gets the start in left field Thursday.

The move shows the Cardinals plan on moving him around as opposed to just being stationary in center like he has been the last couple years.  

Jay's new calling card is going to have to be versatility. He's not long to be an everyday player.  

He'll get a lot of at-bats but as a bench guy, he's going to need to be able to move around.  

Fortunately, if you can play center you can play left or right. Jay's solid enough defensively to handle the adjustment.


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(kmov.com)
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Center Field: Jon Jay and Bourjos

JonJayCards
Jon Jay is looking good so far; he seems to have made positive changes in his swing. He's also maintaining a classy, team-first attitude and has had nothing but nice things to say about Peter Bourjos.

I've assumed all along that Bourjos (if healthy) will get much of the playing time; GM John Mozeliak really wanted to upgrade the CF defense, and that's why he made the deal to acquire Bourjos.

But Jay will have a say in this, and it's at least possible for the playing time to loosely fall along platoon lines, with Jay vs. RH pitching and Bourjos vs. LHP.
This is going to be a little more interesting that I anticipated.


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Jon Jay trying to find a fit with Cardinals

JonJayCards
JUPITER, Fla. -- As Jon Jay and Pete Kozma went about fixing and finding their swings this offseason, they also had differing messages to consider.

There was one of verbal affirmation, with manager Mike Matheny sending both players home not just with a to-do list but also a reminder that the Major League club still valued them.

Then there was the point implied through the Cardinals' subsequent activity. Within a four-day span in November, Jay and Kozma -- both starting position players last year -- no longer had assurances of regular playing time. General manager John Mozeliak did not mince his words, either. Subpar results from the shortstop and center-field spots in 2013 necessitated that the Cardinals made additions in both areas.

For Jay and Kozma, their place in the organization would be determined on which message resonated more. The verdict?

"I've seen them handle it like pros," Matheny said on Sunday. "They couldn't have handled it much better."

Neither Jay nor Kozma had a chance to prove the payoffs of their offseason work before the Cardinals bumped both down the depth chart. The starting shortstop job is now Jhonny Peralta's. Even a bench spot will be tough for Kozma to find with Mark Ellis and Daniel Descalso in the mix.

Jay won't end up back in Triple-A, but he's likely to spend much more time on the bench. Best-case scenario for him would be to open the season with a timeshare in center.

For two players who combined for 1,076 plate appearances and 254 starts last season, it's bound to be a transition. They left camp a year ago as starters on a postseason-bound club. Now, they're merely seeking a fit.

"We've gotten a lot better by acquiring guys. That's what you want," Jay said. "It's easy for me. All you think about is October. You think about those playoff experiences. You think about going to the World Series and being a part of these special teams where hopefully in 10 or 15 years we talk about the great run we've been on. It's easy for me to put that [individual stuff] aside and just really focus on the team."

Both players entered the offseason knowing that future playing time would hinge predominately on whether they could improve with the bat. Kozma needs to offer more offensive production to complement his above-average defensive ability. Jay's defensive deficiencies could be better veiled with more consistency at the plate.

The two tried a series of in-season adjustments in 2013 but found it difficult to tweak mechanics in a setting where results were scrutinized. It was in pressure-less environments where the work was finally able to get done.

Kozma spent his winter days on the campus of Oral Roberts University, where he tried to right all that went wrong during the second half of the 2013 season. He practiced a shorter swing and was intentional about keeping his front side closed longer. It was his tendency to fly open that had caused him to pull so many pitches.

"Mechanically, things fell apart during the season," Kozma said. "It's pretty tough because I felt like I was doing things one way throughout the first half, and then they started pitching me differently in the second half and I couldn't adjust because my mechanics were off. It was probably one of the toughest that I've ever had at any level."

Kozma finished the season with a .217 average. His slugging percentage of .273 was the lowest of any player at any position in either league who logged at least 350 plate appearances. He had an OPS+ of 54. Though the Cardinals had one of the National League's best offenses, it became tough to hide Kozma in the bottom of the lineup by season's end.

"You practice in game time, so sometimes the results sometimes are not what you want," hitting coach John Mabry said. "But sometimes you have to go backwards to go forward. The thing is that you have to have the ability to give it time. It's tough to be playing a highly demanding position like shortstop and make these adjustments. It really says a lot about how tough he is mentally because to be asked to do that and still compete defensively [is difficult]."

Kozma delivered a pinch-hit single on Saturday, and he went 1-for-2 with a two-run double on Sunday.

"It's a little different than last year," Kozma said. "I'm going to have to compete and fight for a job. But that's why we're all here. We're here to try to make a big league team. If I don't, so be it. But I'm out here trying my best to make this squad."

Jay was exposed offensively and defensively in 2013, though he salvaged his starting job by batting .308 over the final three months. Still, he fought with his swing throughout the year.

In late April, he attempted to reduce the amount of movement in it. That worked for a while, but Jay eventually went back to his old ways. With offseason work in Miami this winter, Jay has made "some obvious adjustments," to use Matheny's words, to make his setup simpler.

"He knows what is at stake," Mabry said. "He has a good mindset. He's not going to let the game outwork him. He understands what it takes because he's been here a few years. Right now he has a really good idea of where he's at and what he's doing. Again, it's another case of the repetition part of it is a lengthy process. Until you get comfortable and trust the work that you did in a game speed situation, that's the test of all tests."

Jay entered Sunday with one hit (a single) in his first three spring at-bats. The two outs he hit into would have both gone over the fence had the wind been blowing another direction. It's been enough to get Matheny's attention.

Jay has made an impression on the backfields and in the clubhouse, too, where he continues to assert himself as a leader despite no guarantee of playing time.

"We've all seen that where a guy says, 'OK, this group has given up on me,'" Matheny said. "We made sure we told them, 'Just make sure you stay the course. Just keep working on what you're working on. This stuff will take care of itself.' You can't control what's being said. All you can really control is how you handle this, first off. And two, just come out and work. If it takes you proving people wrong, if that's your motivation, then jump all over it. Come back with a plan on how you're going to continue to get better.'

"Both of them are very capable Major League players. And I see more upside. I see better [upside] than we have ever seen before in them."


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Jon Jay may fill super sub role for Cardinals

JonJayCards
MLB.com's Jenifer Langosch says Jon Jay may play all three outfield spots for the Cardinals this year in an attempt to get at-bats.

"I've done it before," Jay said. "I have played left field. I have played right field. It's a luxury on our team. We have so many guys who are so talented that they can step up to play any given day and do a good job. It's one of those things that's going to give our team flexibility." Langosch suggests Jay may be largely relegated to a bench role with the arrival of Peter Bourjos, so he may have to fill a super sub role as a fourth outfielder to find playing time. The 28-year-old is coming off a season in which he hit .276/.351/.370 as the team's everyday center fielder.


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Jon Jay returns to roots in Florida to help Boys & Girls Club

JonJayCards
MIAMI BEACH, Fla. -- Cardinals outfielder Jon Jay would walk down the block from his childhood home to the Boys & Girls Clubs of Miami-Dade location on 32nd Avenue and U.S. Highway 1.

As an 8-year-old, a few of his teammates included Padres first baseman Yonder Alonso, Rays infielder Sean Rodriguez and former Orioles infielder Robert Andino.

"It's really where I started off," Jay said. "People see me now in the Major Leagues, and I was fortunate. That's where the long journey started. That's where I fell in love with the game of baseball."

Jay, who will enter his fifth big league season in 2014, hosted the Jon Jay FMSbonds Celebrity Bowling Challenge Friday night at Lucky Strike Miami Beach.
The event raised more than $50,000 during its first two years, and Jay hoped he could eclipse that total with the help of some famous friends.

Orioles third baseman Manny Machado, Cardinals right-hander Jason Motte, Dodgers left-hander Paco Rodriguez, Phillies outfielder John Mayberry Jr. and Pirates first baseman Gaby Sanchez were some of those in attendance.

Nationals left-hander Gio Gonzalez, whose group won the bowling challenge in 2012 and finished second in 2013, could not make it in order to take part in Saturday's NatsFest.

Alonso, one of Jay's former childhood and University of Miami teammates, has come every year.

"It's a nice touch by Jon Jay and the family obviously getting everything together," Alonso said. "It's something that's becoming a routine for us. It's fun and enjoyable, and it's obviously for a good cause."

All 14 bowling lanes sold out. This year, they even sold tickets to people who just wanted to hang out by the billiards tables or watch the bowling action. Others danced to top-40 music played by a disc jockey. There was also an auction of memorabilia. 

Proceeds will benefit Boys & Girls Clubs of Miami-Dade to support its programs, which range from after-school education to sports programs for 10,000 area youth.

"He never forgot about where he came from," said Alex Rodriguez-Roig, executive director of Boys & Girls Clubs of Miami-Dade. "He's so well-liked that everybody wants to go out and support him and be part of this great event."

It's already made an impact on 14-year-old Santino Lizarazo. He and 15 other kids from the South Beach club took up a lane, trading spares and strikes.

"That's pretty cool because you're at the same level as him when he was younger, so you could be like him," said Lizarazo, who has been with the club for four years. "For him to give back to the community -- we watch his games -- is really cool." 

Jay, who came up with the bowling idea, thought it would be a nice change from the usual charity golf tournaments. 

Bowling encourages everyone, particularly families, to be social. And while helping a good cause. 

"It's the goal for everyone to see we're role models," Jay said. "We want to keep it growing and moving and something that's a long term. It's not just for when I'm playing. It's something I want to do for the rest of my life."


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Jon Jay embracing competition in center field

JonJayCards
Jenifer Langosch of MLB.com reports that Jon Jay is looking forward to competing with Peter Bourjos for the team's starting role in center field.
While he faces an uphill battle, the 28-year-old outfielder is approaching this offseason the same way that he's approached any other, under the impression that he'll be playing on a regular basis. As a likely fourth outfielder though, his fantasy value is extremely limited.


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Cardinals Sign Jon Jay, Avoid Arbitration

JonJayCards
The St. Louis Cardinals avoided arbitration with multiple players by agreeing to contract numbers on Friday.

The Cardinals agreed to one-year deals with outfielders Jon Jay and Peter Bourjos.

Jay will make $3.25 million in 2014 while Bourjos will earn $1.2 million with a $150,000 bonus available through incentives.


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Jon Jay hosts bowling event for cause near to heart

JonJayCards
ST. LOUIS -- In an offseason already highlighted by his November wedding, Jon Jay has been busy planning another big event, one that offers him a chance to assist a local organization whose impact hits close to home -- both literally and figuratively -- for the Cardinals outfielder.

For the third straight year, Jay will host the Jon Jay FMSbonds Celebrity Bowling Challenge at Lucky Strike in Miami Beach, Fla. The event, which sold out its space each of the last two years and has raised over $50,000 for charity, will again benefit the Boys & Girls Clubs of Miami-Dade. The charity beneficiary was not chosen by chance, either.

After donating the proceeds of his first bowling event to the Chapman Partnership, a Miami-area group that helps the homeless, Jay decided to partner with the Boys & Girls Clubs. He had long hoped to give back to this organization specifically, as it was a resource he directly benefited from as a child growing up in South Florida.

"I always knew I wanted to do something in Miami to help out," Jay said. "I grew up in the Boys & Girls Club in Miami, so it became a perfect fit. I used to walk there."

In order to help stir interest in the event, Jay has elicited the participation of other Miami athletes and celebrities and Cardinals teammates to participate in the bowling night. Previous attendees include baseball players Daniel Descalso, David Freese, Allen Craig, Lance Lynn, Mike Lowell, Gio Gonzalez, Tyler Greene, John Mayberry, Blake Tekotte, Luis Exposito and Chris Marrero. The Miami Heat's Chris Bosh has stopped by, as well as actor Bryan Greenberg and celebrity chef Richard Ingram.

Among those expected to attend this year's event -- which will be held Jan. 24 from 7-10 p.m. ET -- are Orioles infielder Manny Machado, Padres first baseman Yonder Alonso and NFL player Jimmy Graham.

"It's been incredible, the turnout and how the community has received this," Jay said. "It's heading in the right direction of where we want to go. We're at the point now where we're at our third year, and we have a vision of really extending this and taking it to the next level."

A portion of the money donated to the Boys & Girls Clubs of Miami-Dade will be allocated to the organization's baseball program, of which Jay was a member. It will also help a mentorship program that Jay and his father established through the Boys & Girls Clubs to assist boys ages 6-20 with overcoming obstacles associated with growing up in the inner city.

Jay remains active with this program while in Miami during the offseason. His father makes several weekly visits to work with these boys each week of the year.

"It's hard growing up in the inner city, but we want them to know something can come of it," Jay said. "Through the inner-city program, we traffic a lot of kids to play baseball from the inner cities. It's growing. We envision the program growing and reaching out to other parts of the inner city to help more people. We want to show them that working hard and having a good attitude can take you far."

Jay used the recognition gained from being a part of the Cardinals' 2011 World Series championship club to get his dream of hosting a bowling event off the ground, and support from key sponsors FMSbonds and Emerson Electric Company have helped grow the event. Jay had a connection to both companies through family friends.

For more information on the event and/or to secure a spot to bowl in the Jon Jay Celebrity Bowling Challenge, visit jonjaychallenge.com. Bowling spots can be reserved as individuals or teams. For those not able to participate in the event, there is an opportunity to make a donation to the Boys & Girls Clubs of Miami-Dade through the website as well.


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What will become of Jon Jay?

JonJayCards
The acquisition of center fielder Peter Bourjos and the anticipated MLB arrival of top prospect Oscar Taveras raises an obvious question as we take an overview of the potential Cardinals' roster for 2014:

What will become of incumbent CF Jon Jay?

It's a tricky question to answer. There are many layers to this, so let's go through them:

* To retain Jay for 2014, Cards management will have to pay Jay between $3 million and $3.5 million next season. (The price is pumped up by the traditional, institutional, arbitration-years salary boost.) That's good money for a player that might be a fourth or even fifth oufielder. And after all, GM John Mozeliak was reluctant to pay 3B David Freese $4 million-plus for a part-time role in 2014, and moved him to Anaheim in the Bourjos deal.
Is Mozeliak looking to trade Jay? Don't rule it out. But that's based on other variables, including Taveras' status as he rehabs from ankle surgery. More on that later.

* Then we have manager Mike Matheny warning reporters that it would be unwise to assume that Bourjos will start in center. This would qualify as major news to Mozeliak, who made the trade for a reason: to significantly enhance this team's dreadful outfield defense. And Bourjos, when healthy, arguably has the best CF glove in baseball. Jay was among the worst center fielders in the majors last season, with minus 10 defensive runs saved according to Bill James online. The Cardinals need a rangy sweeper in center to cover for the limited defensive range in left and right. 

* Matheny's pledge to throw the job open to competition is a contradiction. He increasingly benched Jay in favor of Shane Robinson when the Cardinals encountered LH starting pitching late in the season. From Aug. 1 through the end of the World Series, Jay had 60 plate appearances vs. lefties; Robinson had 47. And their number of PA vs. lefties was the same from Sept. 1 until the conclusion of the postseason. I think Matheny is being a nice guy here.

* Unless, of course, the Cardinals are strongly considering a platoon in center field. That would mean the LH-swinging Jay vs. RH pitchers, and the RH-swinging Bourjos vs. lefthanded pitching. But again, that's highly unlikely for multiple reasons including these two: (1) there are many more RH pitchers than LH pitchers. As a point of reference the 2013 Cardinals had 4,589 plate appearances vs. RHP and 1,613 vs. LHP. It makes no sense to trade for Bourjos and have him parked on the bench as a nominal platoon piece. You don't improve your outfield defense with Bourjos in the dugout. And (2) Bourjous hasn't hit LHP very well, anyway. That's another reason why it makes little sense to go with a platoon-heavy arrangement.

* And if the Cardinals wish to give a LH-hitting outfielder at-bats against RH pitching, I'd imagine they'd be inclined to distribute them to Taveras. The Cardinals say Taveras will be healthy and ready to go when the spring-training games begin. (They'll be able to reaffirm that after giving Taveras an extensive inspection later this month.) So if Taveras is ready to roll, wouldn't it make sense to give him his share of at-bats as a center fielder?  You wouldn't have Taveras on the big club unless you can give him enough plate appearances to expedite his development. I talked to Mozeliak about this, and he said the club's preference is to have Taveras on the opening-day roster — but the team can't rule out a return to the minors, at least for the start of the season.

* If Taveras sticks at the start, I would think the goal would be to get Taveras as much playing time as the Cardinals gave rookie 1B  Matt Adams in 2013. We're talking 350 plate appearances or so. And that can be done by (A) playing Taveras in center when Bourjos is scheduled for days off, is slumping, or banged up; (B) playing Taveras in RF when Allen Craig needs a day off or is nursing a minor injury; (C ) playing Taveras in RF when Adams sits, with Craig starting at first base; (D) playing Taveras in LF on Matt Holliday's off days. If you don't think this is likely, please consider: the Cardinals managed to get 382 plate appearances for Adams last season, and Adams plays only one position. Taveras can play all three OF spots, so getting him 350+ PA shouldn't be an issue.

* Before we write Jay off, let's remember that he does have some offensive value. In 1,491 career plate appearances vs. righthanded pitching Jay has batted .300 with a .360 onbase percentage and .417 slugging percentage. Jay was in the range of that career standard in 2013 when he hit .291 with a .363 onbase percentage and a .386 SLG vs. righthanders. You don't get much home-run wattage from Jay, which is a minus. But he does get on base against RH pitchers, and that could be useful as the Cardinals strive to have a deeper more versatile bench in 2014.

* Jay also would provide potentially valuable insurance. And that's a key consideration for several reasons. Bourjos has a history of injury problems. So does Craig. And not only is Taveras is coming off ankle surgery, but he's unproven as a center fielder. Taveras projects, long-term as a corner outfielder.

* If Bourjos gets hurt, would the Cardinals be willing to go all-in with Taveras in center? Would they be willing to commit to Shane Robinson in center? I'm not sure how Mozeliak feels about that. But if Bourjos is sidelined, you certainly could envision a scenario that has Taveras starting in center, with Robinson starting some games or being used extensively as a defensive replacement when the Cardinals want to protect late-inning leads.

It's difficult to find an easy, snap-into-place answer to the Jon Jay query.

The Cardinals also have other young outfielders on the way to the majors, though at the moment there's no compelling reason to rush Stephen Piscotty, James Ramsey or Randal Grichuk here in '14.

The possibilities are all over the outfield map.

Make no mistake: The GM traded for a player with the clear goal of going in a different direction in center field. But the manager says Jay still has a chance to be a starter. Depending on who you believe, Jay could play a lot, or hardly at all.

Jay's presence, at $3 million or so, could be an unnecessary extravagance. But his presence could be vital in the event of injuries; after all this team has won two NL pennants, a World Series and made it to the postseason with Jay as its starting center fielder from 2011-2013. Or Jay could be relocated in a trade.

My best guess is that the Cardinals will hedge their bet on Bourjos and keep Jay around. But how he'd be used is undetermined, and largely dependent on the injury factor and the prominence of the Taveras role in 2014.

We have solved nothing here today, but this does make for a good baseball discussion. As always, your comments and suggestions are welcome.


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Jon Jay 'finds ways to get things done'

JonJayCards
DENVER • Cardinals center field Jon Jay has at least one plate appearance this season at every spot in the order except for cleanup, and with teammate Allen Craig out with a foot injury the former leadoff hitter has been recast as the No. 2 hitter.

With it, the Cardinals’ lineup has a different look.

Jay, who spent much of 2012 as the team’s leadoff hitter, has hit .267 with a .343 on-base percentage this season in the No. 2 spot. Monday was his 31st start there.

Carlos Beltran has been the regular in the No. 2 spot ahead of Holliday, but with Craig not available the switch-hitting Beltran is batting fourth.

“Jay finds ways to get things done,” manager Mike Matheny said. “I think (Beltran) was confused a little bit about what his role was — am I supposed to be a table-setter? The way I pictured it when you’re in the lineup, when you’re in that second batting position, I look at it as we have two three-hole hitters. That’s the way I want (Beltran) going about his at-bats there.

"With Jon Jay it’s a little different. He realizes he’s going to go in and do the little things right. He’s very good about getting runners over. He’s got a good idea when to put the bunt down and try to get something going.”


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Jon Jay shreds NL Central while lifting Cards to first

JonJayCards
Jon Jay has a lot of fans in St. Louis. But he shouldn’t expect any Christmas cards with a Pittsburgh return address.

Jay, whose resurgence couldn’t have come at a better time for the unsinkable Redbirds, has worn out the Pirates all year and is a big reason why the club finds itself atop the National League Central Division.

In fact, if the Cardinals played the Pirates in all 19 games remaining this season, you probably wouldn’t hear him complain.

Jay is 22-for-56 against the Bucs in 2013, a .393 average, with five doubles, 10 RBIs and 13 runs scored. He was especially pleased to see Morton on the bump for the Pirates because he beats him like a rented mule.

Jay is 6-for-14 against Morton this season, a .429 average in a small sample size. Morton, who couldn’t finish two innings in Sunday’s game, left due to a foot injury trailing 5-0. 

You’ll forgive Morton if he wakes up screaming in the middle of the night before trips to Busch; he is 1-4 there with an ERA of about 7. Coming into Sunday’s game, Morton was one of the Bucs’ most effective pitchers recently. He was 3-0 in his last three games and surrendered only two earned runs in 20 innings of work. 

Sunday, not so good. His line reads six hits, five earned runs, and two walks in an inning and two-thirds for an ERA of 27 and a WHIP of nearly 5. Ouch.
Jay and his teammates now face the Milwaukee Brewers, a team, it has been written, that will play a large role in determining who wins the Central title.
Nearly a third of the remaining 19 games are against the Brew Crew, so how does Jay stack up against them?

Well, if he’s lights out against the Pirates, he dims them considerably against the Brewers; 16-for-45 for a .356 average with 12 RBIs, two taters and an OPS of .983. Curiously, he has also been hit three times by Brewers pitchers, perhaps to express their displeasure at his success against them.

The season ends with three against the Chicago Cubs, Jay’s third favorite team in the Central. Against the Northsiders, Jay is 19-for-55 (.345) with five doubles, a homer and 9 RBIs. And has been hit twice.

In light of that, perhaps Jay should not expect too many Christmas cards from anywhere other than St. Louis, which, no doubt, is fine with him.  


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Jon Jay surging at the plate in August

JonJayCards
MILWAUKEE -- Jon Jay entered Monday hitting .377 in August and leading the National League with 26 hits in the month, many of them important ones for the Cardinals.

His 27th hit on Monday was a big one, too.

Jay launched a tiebreaking two-run home run -- his seventh of the year -- to left-center field in the sixth inning to help the Cardinals to a 4-2 lead in their eventual 8-5 win over the Brewers at Miller Park.

"That's two big ones for us, opposite field like that," said Cardinals manager Mike Matheny, referring to Jay's three-run homer on Sunday in the Cardinal's 6-1 win over the Cubs. "He's got something really good going. Just like to see it continue for a couple months."

Jay has a .273 batting average, 20 points above the .253 mark he entered August with. He said recent mechanical changes with hitting coach John Mabry have contributed to his success.

"Just playing one day at a time," Jay said. "Just figure out a way to put the barrel on the ball more consistently. Working hard every day and trying to win some guys."

Jay entered August with 14 doubles and 39 RBIs in 409 plate appearances, but he has eight doubles and 17 RBIs in 73 at-bats this month. His on-base percentage was up from .331 to .346 and his slugging percentage rose from .346 to .382.

But Matheny said you would never be able to tell how well its going for the 28-year-old center fielder just by looking at him.

"You go up and you talk to Jon Jay every day and you can't tell if he's eight for his last eight or oh-for his last 12," Matheny said. "That's a great quality as a younger guy in our premium position like he is in center field. He brings that every single day."

Matheny said Jay has been pivotal to the Cardinals push this month, and has resembled the hitter who hit .305 for the team in 2012.

"We need everybody pulling their weight and everybody doing their part in order for us to be as good as we can be, and Jon's doing his part," Matheny said. "With that, we know there's going to be ups and downs offensively, but … he is that hitter we saw last year. Hitting over .300 and putting together tough at-bats for us. And we know what kind of defender he is, so he's continuing to build himself into the kind of player that he should be, and right now he's just on a good run."


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Jon Jay collects BB, 2B, HR, 4 RBI, 2 runs in win

JonJayCards
Jon Jay finished 2-for-3 with a walk, double, home run, four RBI and two runs scored in Sunday's win against the Cubs.

Jay's second four-RBI game of the season featured his first homer since July 3. The three-run blast off James Russell in the seventh expanded St. Louis' lead to 6-1, the game's final score. Jay is batting .273 with six homers and 54 RBI through 121 games.


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Jon Jay is finding himself stranded too often

JonJayCards
For the third time in Friday night’s game, Jon Jay found himself on the basepaths. He had already doubled in the second and fourth innings, trying his best to give the struggling Cardinals offense a spark. But one batter later, for the third time in Friday night’s game, Jay found himself walking back to the dugout at the end of the sixth inning rather than crossing home plate.

It’s a frustrating time for the Cardinals’ outfielder to catch fire.

He already has three, three-hit games, five doubles, and 15 hits in the first nine days of August, but unfortunately for Jay, most of those hits have left him in the same spot he was stuck on Friday.

Stranded on the basepaths.

“We had a few chances (to score tonight),” manager Mike Matheny said. “We had a good start by Lance (Lynn). We had a few (chances), but we just couldn’t capitalize.”

Jay has heated up since the All-Star break, hitting .342, with seven doubles, and 25 hits. He came into Friday night’s game hitting only .163 against lefthanded pitchers and still managed to get three hits off of Cubs lefty Chris Rusin.

“Stuff is starting to work out,” Jay said following Friday night’s 3-0 loss. “(But) it’s not about individual results. It’s definitely frustrating when you can’t score runs.”

Before this month, Jay has struggled to maintain a hot streak all year. He has switched off from hot to cold in every month to start the season, hitting .213 in April, .284 in May, .231 in June and .284 in July.

Now, Jay has jumped right out of the gate since the All-Star break and has once again been terrific so far in August. In the same month last season, he hit .355 with 38 hits, 16 runs and 11 RBIs.

But not including the three runs he scored Aug. 1 against Pittsburgh, Jay has only crossed the plate five times since the break. In the first five games of their 10-game home stand, the Cardinals’ struggling offense have only managed to score eight runs, resulting in a 1-4 record.

“I think we have the kind of team and enough depth and experience that guys shouldn’t allow something like that to last very long,” Matheny said. “You’re going to have times when you’re just not going to be able to produce offensively. Hopefully your pitching keeps you in the game, which our pitching did (tonight). In general, our offense has been very consistent all season.

“We’ve got to get it done. Games like this, we’ve got to get it done. I think we’re all just kind of fed up with excuses. When it comes down to the bottom line, we’ve got to score runs, we’ve got to score more than them, we’ve got to keep runs from scoring.”

“We still have got plenty of games left, and we are a good team,” Jay said. “It’s just the way baseball goes. We’re going to keep pushing, and we’re going to be all right.”


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(stltoday.com)
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Jon Jay lauds suspension of friend, former Miami teammate Ryan Braun

JonJayCards
ST. LOUIS — St. Louis Cardinals center fielder Jon Jay is a friend and former teammate of Ryan Braun's at the University of Miami.

The Milwaukee Brewers' Braun was suspended for 65 games Monday for violation of baseball's substance-abuse policy.

"I was just as shocked as everyone else," said Jay, the Cardinals' player representative. "I'm glad that he was finally able to come out and put this behind him and move forward. It just shows that Major League Baseball's doing the best job (it) can to clean the game up, and I'm proud to say that. I'm happy about that.

"I believe in doing what's right, and the right thing is if you've cheated or done something that you're not supposed to do, you should be punished for it. I'm all for that; I believe that. I'm glad everything got resolved. ... Everyone knows the truth now and we've got to move on."

Jay still considers Braun a friend.

"My thoughts aren't going to change on him," Jay said. "He's been there for me and (has) been a good friend. I've learned a lot from him over the years. I'll stand by that. But I'm happy the system is working. He admitted to cheating and I'm glad he's getting punished for it."

The Cardinals' Matt Holliday, Carlos Beltran and David Freese refused comment about Braun's suspension.

Cardinals manager Mike Matheny, who played with Mark McGwire in St. Louis and Barry Bonds in San Francisco, disdains PEDs.

"It's cheating the game," Matheny said. "It's no good for our kids that are watching, the next generation of fans. But the guys who are directly impacted are the other players who are clean. ... Their salaries are being measured against the guys who are cheating."

Matheny said playing in the PED era of the late 1990s and early 2000s was "a weird time."

"Many of us had suspicions because you heard the rumors," Matheny said. "But guys didn't go around talking about it. I always took the perspective that I had to take care of myself. I'm very proud to be able to have my career and know I did things the right way in my mind.

"But in the same breath, I don't know where other people are coming from, what made them make the decisions they made. It wasn't my job to judge them. I do know, for the good of the game, there needed to be a system in place to help be accountable."


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(bnd.com)
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Jon Jay struggling again

JonJayCards
St. Louis Cardinals OF Jon Jay has only two hits in his last 37 at-bats. Right-handed-hitting OF Shane Robinson drew the start in center field on Tuesday, June 4, against Arizona Diamondbacks SP Tyler Skaggs, a left-hander.

Fantasy Tip: Jay seemed to turn things around in early May following some adjustments at the dish, but another skid has dropped his average to .238, after it had reached .286 just a couple of weeks ago. If this goes on for another couple of months, the Cards may be tempted to try alternatives. They could move Allen Craig to the outfield and get Matt Adams into the lineup regularly, or they could even call up Oscar Taveras, assuming that the top prospect is healthy.


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(kffl.com)

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Jon Jay is at home lower in lineup

JonJayCards
SAN DIEGO • Almost as fast as you can say Jon Jay, the Cardinals center fielder has gone from table setter to run producer.

Jay, the leadoff man for much of the second half of last season and for the first month this season, has fit comfortably into the lower part of the lineup after struggling to reach base when he hit first.

Although he didn’t drive in a run Monday in the Cards’ 4-2 loss to the San Diego Padres, he had two hits and has driven in 15 runs in his past five games and had lifted his RBI total to 23, fourth highest on the club. Through Sunday he was hitting .342 with men in scoring position and .415 overall in his past 23 starts.
Jay had driven in 27, 37 and 40 runners in his first three big-league seasons but is on pace for 80 or so now.

“Those numbers for his lack of production in the past were kind of false numbers,’’ Cardinals manager Mike Matheny said. “He takes good at-bats. You don’t see him do much different with guys in scoring position.

“I know the year before last, he was known as a guy who wasn’t driving in runs. I think he’s proved to himself that he’s able to do that when the situation presents itself.”

Jay insists he is the same player whether he hits first or whether he bats sixth or seventh.

“When I hit in the top of the lineup, I still took pride in trying to drive guys in,” Jay said. “You get more chances (now) but I’ve still got the same approach. It’s the same to me, though ... as long as I’m playing. I’m just trying to get to October. Keep piling wins up.”

Hitting coach John Mabry said Jay “doesn’t scare.”

And by that, he meant not only does the lefthanded-hitting Jay feel capable of meeting any game situation but that he wasn’t afraid to make a rather radical in-season approach to his stance.

Where he used to lay the bat on his shoulder and then had a lot of movement before the pitch was delivered, Jay switched to having his bat more perpendicular to the ground and with less movement.

“I just started doing it and rolled with it,” Jay said. “It helps me get to the ‘ready’ position a lot sooner.”

The idea actually was fomented in the offseason when Jay called Mabry, who moved up from assistant hitting coach to the hitting coach position, and said he wanted to make an adjustment.

Jay didn’t really implement the plan much until about a month into season, with veteran outfielder Carlos Beltran also offering his advice on the matter.

“It was a collaborative effort,” Mabry said. “Jon doesn’t scare from any situation. When you’ve got that trait, you have the ability to drive in those runs like he’s driving them in.”

But Mabry admitted he and Jay were taking a chance of an in-season adjustment.

“It’s always a risk, any time you do something like that,” Mabry said. “You also might get better and reach your potential. You have to understand there are times when you have to do things in order for longevity in the league and to be the best player you can be.

“During the season, it’s tough. But, again, he doesn’t scare from any situation.”

There is some psychology involved, though, Mabry said.

“As a player, you have to be the one that wants to make the adjustment,” said Mabry, who had to make several as a hitter in his career. “If someone tells you you need to make the adjustment, you don’t wholeheartedly buy in all the time.

“As a player, if you say, ‘I think I can do something a little better and I want to try this,’ then you can buy into it.

“Any time you try something new, you can leave yourself a little bit vulnerable. Whether it works out or doesn’t work out, you can always have the experience of having tried it and seeing if you liked the results — if you got to balls you weren’t normally getting to, if the ball was carrying a little farther and if you were laying off balls that you wouldn’t normally lay off.

“All those things are a sign of a positive change. And I think he saw enough of that to maybe want to do it a little more. When he talked to Carlos, and (Beltran) reaffirmed it, that gave him the nudge in the right direction he wanted to go.

“You’re kind of making a leap of faith. And when you make that leap of faith and have immediate results, you say, ‘Whoa, this might be a way to go.’ If you go that way and struggle, you might never buy into it.

“He’s done a phenomenal job.”


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(stltoday.com)
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Jon Jay Gets Hot Again

JonJayCards
Cardinals CF Jon Jay drove in his 12th run in 11 games with an RBI double in the fourth inning and also notched his first assist of the year, doubling John Buck off second to end the second. Jay is hitting .439 (18-of-41) since May 2.




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(chicagotribune.com)
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Jon Jay stays hot for Cardinals

JonJayCards
Cardinals outfielder Jon Jay continued his recent hot hitting in Wednesday's series finale against the Cubs. He went 1 for 3 with two RBI in the 5-4 win.

Jay hit a sac fly in the fourth inning before driving in Yadier Molina with a single in the eighth.

The 28-year-old has hit safely in seven straight games and has gone 10 for 24 (.417) with one homer and eight RBI during that span.


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(cbssports.com)
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Jon Jay has new setup at plate

JonJayCards
St. Louis Cardinals OF Jon Jay had two hits, including a home run, and four RBIs in a victory Saturday, May 4, which marked his third straight multi-hit game. Jay has raised his average from .204 to .243 and has looked "relaxed" and "smooth" at the plate recently, according to OF Carlos Beltran. "He made some pretty big overhauls to his swing," manager Mike Matheny said. "He has been working hard to find that rhythm. It's not just simplifying – the ball sounds different coming off his bat."

Jay previously had a timing mechanism at the plate that involved several hand pumps, but he became too anxious with them at times, which threw off his timing significantly. His bat started to flatten over his back shoulder and his hands came closer to his chest during his slump. A downward loop had been created with his hands that left his swing slow and long. Jay worked with the coach staff to move his hands away from his body, raised his bat perpendicular to his shoulder and made his swing more direct.

Fantasy Tip: You'll likely find Jay's name on many a mixed league waiver wire still because of his slow start. With a retooled approach, however, he has shown signs of life and should be considered for a waiver wire acquisition if you're searching for outfield depth.


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(kffl.com)
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Jon Jay has big day in Cards 7-6 win

JonJayCards
MILWAUKEE — Jon Jay homered and drove in the go-ahead run in the ninth and Allen Craig and Daniel Descalso each hit home runs to lead the St. Louis Cardinals to a 7-6 win over the Milwaukee Brewers on Saturday.

Shane Robinson singled to center and then took second on center fielder Carlos Gomez’s fielding error off Jim Henderson (2-1) who started the ninth for Milwaukee with the game tied at 6. Robinson stole third and then scored when Jay singled up the middle, the last lead change in a back-and-forth game.

Jay hit a three-run home run in the second, Craig connected for a solo shot in the sixth and Descalso put the Cardinals ahead with a two-run homer in the seventh.

The Brewers trailed by one in the eighth when they got one-out singles that put runners on the corners. Cardinals manager Mike Matheny brought in Randy Choate. Norichika Aoki dropped a perfect bunt down as pinch-runner Jeff Bianchi raced home and slide feet first, avoiding catcher Yadier Molina’s tag. Seth Maness (1-0) came on and got the Cardinals out of the jam, getting Jean Segura to hit into a double play.

Maness earned his first major league win. Edward Mujica pitched the ninth for his eighth save.

Descalso hit his first homre of the season off reliever Tom Gorzelanny who came on for starter Yovani Gallardo. The Milwaukee right-hander looked liked he might pick up the win after Milwaukee went ahead 5-4 in the sixth.

That didn’t happen, but it kept Gallardo from suffering another loss to St. Louis. He came in 1-10 in 15 starts.

Cardinals starter Adam Wainwright gave up Segura’s two-run home run in the first, but nothing more until three runs in the sixth ended his start and put the Brewers ahead 5-4.

Gomez hit a one-out solo home run. Martin Maldonado singled, advanced on Alex Gonzalez’ single and both scored on pinch-hitter Jonathan Lucroy’s double. After Wainwright hit Aoki for the second time in the game, Kelly took over and got Segura to hit into a double play.

Wainwright went 5 1-3, allowed 11 hits, the most since he gave up 11 on Opening Day at Arizona, and struck out five.

His first three pitches of the game hurt, especially the one that snapped his streak of not allowing a home run this season.

On a 1-0 pitch, Aoki’ singled. Then first-pitch swinging Segura hit his fourth home run of the season.

Jay’s three-run homer in the second erased Milwaukee’s 2-0 lead.


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(thetelegraph.com)
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Jon Jay's extra work pays off

JonJayCards
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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(stltoday.com)
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Jon Jay is searching

JonJayCards
WASHINGTON • Center fielder Jon Jay appeared late in Wednesday’s game to deliver a pinch-hit single and end a personal zero-for-21 streak on this trip.

But for a second consecutive day, Jay was not in the starting lineup as manager Mike Matheny wanted to get him time away from the batter’s box to work out of an extended funk.

Jay’s timing is amuck at the plate. With a lot of moving parts to Jay’s swing, Matheny wanted the outfielder to refine his approach and find his timing without having to do it in games.

“I’m trying to get the timing back,” said Jay, who grounded into a double play in his final at-bat Wednesday to leave his average at .205. “Hitting is all timing with everyone. I’m trying to get that back. Obviously I’d like to be doing better, but I’m not. I know I’m going to come out of it.”


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(stltoday.com)
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Jon Jay gets another day to work on swing

JonJayCards
WASHINGTON -- In an effort to give Jon Jay an extended opportunity to work on his swing, manager Mike Matheny kept the center fielder out of the lineup for a second straight day. Jay is utilizing the time off to spend extra time in the batting cage, where he is specifically focusing on the timing of his complicated swing, which includes a lot more movement than most players.

"If you have that much movement, you're going to be a streaky hitter," Matheny said. "When he's hot, I think he's as hot as anybody. And when he's cold, he could be the [opposite]."

To this point it has been the latter. Though Jay left Spring Training feeling good about his timing, he has found no consistent rhythm this month. In 18 games entering play Wednesday, Jay had batted .197 with 17 strikeouts and just three walks. It's hardly the start Jay raced out to last season, when he was hitting .400 at the end of April.

"Obviously, I wish I could be doing better, but I'm not," Jay said on Wednesday. "But at the same time, I know that this is a long season and you go through this as a player. I know I'm going to come out of it.

"I feel like this year, I've had games where I've been consistent and games where I haven't been. It's just a combination of things. When things are going bad, it's bad. I haven't lost confidence in what kind of player I am and what I can bring to the table. This happens to everyone. It's not fun when you're dealing with it in the beginning of the season."

Jay compared this current stretch to the one he endured last summer, shortly after returning from a shoulder injury. As he worked to get his timing back, Jay hit .197 over a 21-game stretch from June 24-July 20. He struck out 16 times and walked seven times in 72 plate appearances.

The struggles weren't so noticeable on the stat sheet because his early-season success masked the dip in batting average. And in the end, Jay finished the season with a .305 season average.

"Jon, you forget how young he still is in his career," Matheny said. "He's still trying to figure out those keys, those cues he has to have to get him back to where he needs to be. When he gets it, it'll be fun to have him back at the top of the order."


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(mlb.com)
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Jon Jay Struggling

JonJayCards
Jon Jay went hitless in a fifth straight game Monday versus the Nationals, dropping his average to .197.
The Cardinals had their slumping center fielder bat seventh tonight. In spite of his struggles, Jay scored 14 runs in 15 games out of the leadoff spot. He'll probably move back up once he breaks out of this funk.


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(rotoworld.com)
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Jon Jay scores three times in win

JonJayCards
Jon Jay went 2-for-4 with a two-run double, a walk and three runs scored in a 10-6 win over the Pirates on Monday.

Jay entered with two homers and no doubles, which was quite a change from a 2012 season in which he finished with four homers and 22 doubles in 443 at-bats. He'll be worth playing in mixed leagues for as long as he remains the Cardinals' primary leadoff man.


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(rotoworld.com)
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Jon Jay has another multi-hit game

JonJayCards
Cardinals outfielder Jon Jay turned in a solid performance at the plate during Sunday's series finale against the Giants.

Jay singled and walked in the fourth inning. He also drove in two runs on a triple in the ninth inning and finished 2 for 5 with a walk and three runs scored in a 14-3 victory. It was his second multi-hit game of the season. Jay is hitting 241/.290/.414 with a home run and four RBI through his first six games.


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(cbssports.com)
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Jon Jay getting press for sneaker collection

JonJayCards
(The Chirp) -- During Spring Traininglb_icon1 last year, we asked individual Cardinal players if they had any hobbies or special skills that made them unique.  The most 'unique' answer came from center fielder Jon Jay.

Jay told us that he collects sneakers.  Now, at the time that didn't really register.  I mean I have sneakers, but why would I collect them?  I failed to understand just how un-hip I was, as I was unaware of the subculture that exists pertaining too sneaker collecting.

Yes, I've heard the stories of kids paying hundreds of dollars for Air Jordan's and even crimes being committed in the name of possessing another persons shoe, but again, Jay collecting sneakers, simplylb_icon1 did not register.

Now I get it.

Perusing the web is always interesting, especially when you stumble on to something that you didn't even know existed.  There is a website called solecollector.com and on it right now is a featured interview with the Cardinals lead off hitter.

In the interview we learn how Jay first got into this most unique of hobbies.  According to Jon, "I think I always liked sneakers since I was little. I can remember back in elementary school my best friendlb_icon1 and I always had the "Deions" or Jordans that came out, or whatever the hot shoe was at the time. I remember getting the "Rod Woodsons" (Nike Air Bowl Trainer). The list goes on. We were always into shoes, we always liked them, you know?

Now I know.

Hopefully when the Cardinals return homeicon1, Jay will allow us to show you more of his collection.  Till then, enjoy his feature interview courtesy of solecollector.com


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(ksdk.com)
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Paddleboarding helped Jon Jay prepare for camp

JonJayCards
JUPITER, Fla. -- Center fielder Jon Jay picked up a new hobby over the offseason, a hobby that he said could have a payoff on the conditioning side.

A lifelong Miami resident, Jay tried his hand at paddleboarding, a water sport in which a rider lies on a board and uses his or her arms to maneuver through waves. Jay bought two paddleboards, he said, and made regular visits to the Atlantic Ocean to experiment with them.

But what began merely as a form of active entertainment became a workout tool for the Cardinals outfielder.

"It's a great core workout, so it allowed me to work out and have a good time at the same time," Jay said. "Even before I left to come to camp, instead of being so much in the weight room, I tried to do more paddleboarding. It worked out well. I knew I would be in the weight room a lot when I got here, and so that broke the workouts up and still provided good core work."


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(mlb.com)
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Jon Jay feels comfortable 'quarterbacking' outfield

JonJayCards
PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. -- Long before he found himself in a holding pattern at the professional level, Jon Jay had learned the necessity of waiting his turn.

It started during his days at Columbus (Fla.) High School, when, despite being a talented teenage player, he didn't even make the junior varsity team as a freshman. He joined the varsity his sophomore year but didn't start until his junior season. Such was the reality for players trying to break into one of the Miami area's elite high school programs.

As a senior, Jay was a member of a state championship team.

He expected to wait at the University of Miami too, signing a letter of intent at a school that, at the time, had four junior outfielders. Jay didn't care. It's where he wanted to play. Circumstances -- two transfers and an injury -- created an immediate opening for him, even though Jay had already braced to wait.

He finished his collegiate career a three-time All-American.

"I didn't have the best tools out there, but I did what I needed to do as a college player to prove myself," Jay recently recalled. "I've always looked at things as a challenge. At a young age, I learned to understand how the business side of this sport goes."

It all prepared Jay for his professional path, which, after a quick climb to Triple-A, stalled because of the absence of an immediate fit with the big league club. Jay, who turned 28 on March 15, spent parts of three seasons with Memphis. When he was finally summoned to St. Louis in 2010, he bounced around the outfield, filling in as needed.

It wasn't until the Cardinals dealt center fielder Colby Rasmus at the 2011 Trade Deadline that Jay finally sensed the Cardinals committing to him. He prepares for the 2013 regular season having proven his value as an everyday center fielder, much in the same way that Allen Craig has finally found his everyday job at first base.

"It might not have been as fast as we would have liked it to have been, but we were patient and worked hard," Jay said of his and Craig's journey to the Majors. "We did what we needed to do, and instead of pouting about it, we worked every day. Now, it's nice to come into the season as a starter, even though it doesn't change how hard I work. But you know the role. You know what to expect. You know in Spring Training, exactly what you need to do to get ready."

Jay, who made a diving catch to save a run against the Mets on Thursday, solidified his credentials as a capable Major League center fielder last season. He became just the third outfielder in Cardinals history (minimum 108 games) to play errorless defense. And, as manager Mike Matheny describes it, Jay took over the task of "quarterbacking" in the outfield.

Despite playing between two outfielders -- Matt Holliday and Carlos Beltran -- with a combined 24 years of service time and 15 All-Star appearances, Jay willingly took charge.

"That's not an easy transition, especially when you have guys of that caliber around you," Matheny said. "It's hard to jump in and really take that leadership role, but I think that's part of his natural makeup. He has those leadership characteristics in him. It was something he was excited about this offseason to kick it to another level."

This spring, Jay also found guidance in guest instructors Jim Edmonds and Willie McGee. The three analyzed ballparks, hitters and approaches together in a way Jay said he never had before.

"That's what comes with being a center fielder," Jay said. "You have to take ownership. You really have to step up. I think that's what makes the great center fielders great. They play fearless out there. They take charge. They're not afraid to say, 'I messed up.'"

Jay's leadership has been evident this spring -- even off the outfield grass, as he's taken the initiative of being a buddy to prospect Oscar Taveras. He's an accountability partner of sorts, helping Taveras learn how to read hitters' swings, how to adapt his positioning and how to play with maturity.

He's been a combination of teacher and friend.

"I look up to Jay," Taveras said through a translator. "I feel more confident out there now. I like how he's aggressive out there on balls."

Matheny recently instructed Taveras to watch how Jay approached something as innocuous as shagging balls during batting practice. Matheny wanted Taveras to see the effort, yes, but also the enjoyment.

"He's doing everything short of diving in batting practice," Matheny recalled. "He loves to do this. He's out there going hard for one round of batting practice. That's his plan. He's just out there like a kid enjoying the game of baseball."

Something interesting has happened, too, Matheny noted. Taveras has started to mimic Jay's pregame seriousness.

While solid on defense, Jay will again be asked to spark the offense. With Rafael Furcal out for the season, Jay is set to hit leadoff, a spot where he took half of his at-bats in 2012. He finished the year tied for fourth in the National League among leadoff hitters with a .303 average.

On a team not constructed around speed, Jay brings that element. He led the Cardinals with 19 stolen bases last season and has been testing his limits and leads throughout Grapefruit League play. The Cardinals have encouraged him to be advantageous, but not reckless. They value having him on base more than they do the extra 90 feet.

This concept of taking advantage of opportunities should come natural to Jay -- it's the same path he walked to get here.

"I knew everything would work itself out here in this organization," he said. "There was not another organization that I wanted to be with. It's paid off."


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(mlb.com)
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Jon Jay, Cards agree on his 2013 contract

JonJayCards
JUPITER, Fla. • Cardinals center fielder Jon Jay signed a contract with the club this morning for the 2013 season, but the conversations could have been much different if only for five more days of service time.

Jay fell that many days shy of being eligible for arbitration.

As a result, Jay fell into the cluster of players on the Cardinals' 40-man roster with less than three years of service time. Unlike an arbitration-eligible player, who can use that process to increase his salary, players with less than three years of service time have no leverage during the process.

The team can enter into negotiations in good faith, but if a deal isn't agreed upon by the deadline — which arrives in early March — the team has the right to impose a salary on the player.

Jay made $504,000 last year as the returning center fielder from a World Series team. Terms of his new deal were not immediately known, but he will be one of the highest-paid players for the Cardinals with less than three years of service time in recent years.

Jay took over as the team's leadoff hitter last season and finished the year with a .305 average and a .375 on-base percentage in 117 games. He scored 70 runs for the Cardinals.

From an article that ran in October about Jay falling just short of the arbitration rights that, for example, teammate David Freese used to command a raise from around $500,000 to more than $3 million for the coming season:

Last month, the center fielder heard from his agent that he would fall less than a week shy of qualifying for arbitration this winter. This week it was announced that "Super Two" status was given to the players between two and three years of experience with the top 22 percent of service time.

Under the agreement between the union and the leagues last November, the bar this offseason was set at two years, 139 days. Jay has two years, 134 days. Those five days mean Jay won't have access to arbitration to raise his salary for 2013 and the Cardinals will have control of him for another four seasons.

"I came into the year knowing the situation. It doesn't change anything for me," Jay said. "I don't take anything for granted. I know how this game is. You've seen it a lot with guys in other years. You're in. You're out. I work hard to stay consistent. That stuff takes care of itself."

The Cardinals are working their way through the contracts for the players with less than three years of service time who are on the 40-man roster. That group includes first baseman Allen Craig, second baseman Daniel Descalso, and starting candidates Trevor Rosenthal and Joe Kelly.


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(stltoday.com)
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Jon Jay says time at UM prepared him for big-league attention on Cardinals

JonJayCards
JUPITER — Jon Jay likes to compare the “aura” that surrounds the two teams on which he has spent the majority of his baseball career.

The St. Louis Cardinals’ center fielder says there is a prestige attached to the University of Miami and dismisses any notion that the Hurricanes have been tainted by the ongoing NCAA investigation and ties to a more recent performance-enhancing drug probe.

The Cardinals tradition and popularity, he says, speak for themselves and is something that he was prepared for after spending three years at Miami.
“Any little thing that happens at Miami and they’re under the microscope,” Jay said. “Just like here.”

But that microscope on Miami is sharper than ever.

Jay has followed the Nevin Shapiro scandal and the recent reports that former Miami baseball players — including Brewers All-Star Ryan Braun, who was a teammate of Jay’s — received PEDs from a now defunct clinic that was operating not far from the Miami campus.

But Jay believes his alma mater gets unfairly singled out.

“It’s a combination of everything, being in the city of Miami everybody knows it’s a party town, the stuff that happened in the ‘80s,” Jay said. “Things come up all over the country and I think they kind of pick and choose where they come out. I just say, ‘be fair.”’

Jay, 27, calls the day he was offered a scholarship from Miami as “one of the top moments of my life,” one that undoubtedly includes the day he won a World Series.

“I wanted to go to UM ever since I could remember,” Jay said. “When they called it was a no-brainier. I said, ‘yes, I’m coming.’ I don’t even have to take a visit.”

That’s because Jay, who graduated from Miami-Columbus High, spent his youth attending games at Mark Light Stadium and the Orange Bowl and, more recently, has been a regular at the BankUnited Center to see the Hurricanes resurgent basketball program.

Jay became a star at UM, twice earning All-America honors (2005-06). Miami advanced to two College World Series in Jay’s three years.

Jay was selected in the second round of the 2006 draft by St. Louis and made his big-league debut in 2010. But it wasn’t until a year and a half later, when the Cardinals traded Colby Rasmus, a former first-round pick, to the Blue Jays that Jay was handed the center field job.

“I talked a lot last year about how he grew as a player and grew into the role of center field,” Cardinals manager Mike Matheny said. “He made huge strides, and over this winter he’s taken that further as far as realizing he’s in that next generation of guys coming along. I think he’s as good as any center fielder in the game.”

Jay hit .297 in 2011 and solidified the Cardinals outfield on their way to winning the World Series. But it was last year that he took charge, anchoring an outfield that included Carlos Beltran in right and Matt Holliday in left, and finishing with a .306 average and .373 on-base percentage while hitting leadoff most of the games he played.

Rasmus? He hit .223 with a .289 on base percentage.

Beltran, a 15-year veteran, including 11 in center field, lauded Jay for his leadership skills. He also believes Jay one day will join him as a Gold Glove winner.

“He’s all about learning,” Beltran said. “Every day he comes to the ballpark he comes with the mentality of getting better. I know how demanding center field is. The kid has the desire. He’s going to be a good one.”


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(palmbeachpost.com)
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Jon Jay focused on growth, next championship

JonJayCards
When St. Louis Cardinals center-fielder Jon Jay left St. Louis in October after a crushing defeat by the San Francisco Giants after squandering a 3-1 series lead in the NLCS, he wasn't satisfied.

"I'm all fun, I like to have fun," Jay said Saturday from Roger Dean Stadium, the Cardinals Spring Training facility, in Jupiter, Fla. "But, when I step on the field, especially in Spring Training, it's time to work."

In 2011, his first full season in the majors, Jay tasted victory.

In 2012, he tasted defeat.

"Knowing you're so close to achieving something so great -- it hurt a lot," he said.

Now, in 2013, he has one mission -- win another world championship.

"Just having that sour taste in my mouth last year from being one win away from the World Series -- that's my drive," Jay said. "Yeah, we won the year before but you can never rest on that."

While 2011 made for fond memories, his goal is to keep them as just that as he moves forward in his career.

Jay said he believes it's all about giving yourself a chance and doing your best to put your team in a position to win. With that said, he believes this team has a good shot at re-visiting that late season magic of the past two seasons.

"We get into October with the guys we have on this team," he said. "Obviously health is a big issue, just like with every other team, but if we go out there and we do what we can do I think we have a good possibility."

A big part of that stems from what Jay believes is simply the "Cardinal Way." He said it's not about talking a big game, but about walking out on the field day after day and giving your everything.

The key for Jay is always looking back and telling yourself you can be better than that.

Over the years, the Cardinals have had many players who helped to make the Cardinal way what it is today. It's an idea that comes from generation after generation of players who excelled not only on the field, but in life as well.

"I'm just a little piece of that, I've only been here three years, going on my fourth. I'm trying to keep that legacy going now," Jay said. "Rest in peace, that's what [Stan] Musial did."

There's even one current Cardinal that Jay said exemplifies what it means to be not just good, but great -- Yadier Molina.

Molina's offensive explosion in 2012 took him a step beyond being a fantastic defensive player.

"Yadi could have rested on exactly what he did three years ago, but he's become one of the most dangerous hitters in baseball," Jay said. "He's the best catcher in baseball and that's where you want to get. You want to be the best at every facet of the game. You see him here at 5:30 a.m. every day working in the cage, working on the field. Does he need to do that? In reality, no."

Jay said what Molina does is setting an example for the younger players, himself included. That, he says, is what makes a Cardinal -- and what makes a champion.

With his success in 2012, Jay's name was mentioned in Gold Glove discussions and alongside with impressive defensive players of the past. The humble young player from the University of Miami said he refuses to let that go to his head.

"I told everyone it's nice to be mentioned in those categories, but that's not my ultimate goal," Jay said. "My ultimate goal is to win championships. I know if I go out there, stay healthy and stay in the lineup all year, then good things are going to come."

He did say it was a real honor to have been mentioned that way in his first year as a starting center-fielder.

Right now, his focus is on becoming a better all around player. That's what he believes it takes to win championships.

"Wherever I'm hitting I've really got to own that role," Jay said. "If we all do that, it's going to be a positive thing. It's not about the numbers.

"That's the way we won in 2011," he said. "It takes more than just one guy on a team. It takes all 25 guys to win."


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(dailystatesman.com)
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Jon Jay bringing new attitude to his fourth season

27CDB6E-AE6D-11cf-96B8-444553540000" codebase="http://download.macromedia.com/pub/shockwave/cabs/flash/swflash.cab#version=9,0,47,0">

(KSDK Sports) - Even before he took over the starting job in center field from Colby Rasmus, Jon Jay's demeanor was that of a young man having fun, who still hadn't fully come to grips with the fact that his dream of making it as a major leaguer was coming true.

It's true Jon.

JonJayCards
And in year four of his career, it's possible that Jay understands he's arrived. The smile is still there, but there appears to be a new seriousness as well. That seriousness may be the result of unfinished business. Remember, the Cardinals were one win away from a return to the World Series. Jay wants to get back there. Bad.

Overall in 2012, Jay hit for a .305 avg. a .373 on base percentage a .400 slugging average with a .773 On Base plus Slugging percentage. That's certainly a respectable line score and already more than was expected from him coming into 2012.


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proCanes Jon Jay, Yonder Alonso remember coach Fraser

JonJayCards
MIAMI -- The passing of Hall of Famers Stan Musial and Earl Weaver saddened baseball fans across the world last week.

In Miami, baseball fans also mourned the death of legendary University of Miami head coach Ron Fraser. The "Wizard of College Baseball" passed away last Sunday at the age of 79 due to complications from Alzheimer's disease.

Fraser, who won two national championships at Miami, revolutionized college baseball and had a huge impact on the lives of young men growing up in Miami who dreamed of one day becoming Hurricanes.

"I have pictures of myself at Ron Fraser Baseball Camp on the old turf field," said Cardinals outfielder Jon Jay. "That's really where I started to fall in love with UM. Ever since then, I always wore my UM cap everywhere I went."

Jay is one of several Miami natives in the big leagues who grew up watching Fraser's Canes dominate college baseball. The 27-year-old remembers meeting Fraser as a child and spending time with him in his three years playing at Miami.

"Ron Fraser reinvented the college game," Jay said. "He's somebody that really made his mark and changed college baseball forever. It's a big loss."

Padres first baseman Yonder Alonso, who was a teammate with Jay at Miami, remembers the moments he spent with Fraser fondly.

"I got to hear a lot of stories," Alonso said. "He would come around and talk to us. Obviously, it's a sad moment for us as Hurricanes and for baseball in general. He was a great coach, one of the greatest ever in the NCAA. As a player and a fan, you feel very sorry for his passing. He was such a great inspiration for the Hurricanes, and he's in a better place now."

Alonso was one of several big leaguers who attended the second annual Jon Jay Celebrity Bowling Challenge at Lucky Strike Lanes in Miami Beach on Saturday. Cardinals infielders David Freese and Daniel Descalso, Astros infielder Tyler Greene, Phillies outfielder John Mayberry, White Sox outfielder Blake Tekotte, Orioles catcher Luis Exposito and Nationals first baseman Chris Marrero were just some of the nearly 30 baseball players who came out to support Jay as he raised more than $30,000 for the Boys & Girls Club of Miami-Dade.

"All those people are good people," Jay said. "I try to surround myself with good people. I can't thank them enough because without them, this event wouldn't be possible."

Jay often takes the opportunity to give back in his hometown. Last year, Jay's Bowling Challenge raised more than $25,000 for Chapman Partnership, a local group that helps Miami's homeless. This year, Jay decided to give back to a place that is very special to him.

"The Boys' Club is really where I grew up," Jay said. "It's where I played ball and went after school. That's a place that had a big impact on me, and I just want to provide the same opportunity for other kids."

Jay, who hit .305 and played stellar defense for the Cardinals last season, is pleased with how the Celebrity Bowling Challenge has grown and hopes to continue his charitable efforts for years to come.

"We're excited about it," Jay said. "Last year, it was kind of put together quickly, but this year, we were able to plan it with a little more time and it's been successful. I'm so happy for the support the community has given me. This is where I was born and raised. I wouldn't be where I am without a lot of people that are here today. It's nice to get everyone together and have a good time for a good cause."


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(mlb.com)
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Jon Jay Bowling Challenge Benefitting the Boys and Girls Club of Miami-Dade 1/26/13

Jon Jay Bowling Challenge Benefitting the Boys & Girls Club of Miami-Dade
Saturday, Jan. 26, 6-9 p.m.
Lucky Strike Lanes 1691 Michigan Ave. Miami Beach, FL 33139
Individual tickets: $450 per bowling team (five guests will be matched with a celebrity) and $100 per person (singles will be randomly matched with other single entries/celebrities.)
For sponsorship or additional event information, call Tom Hagan at CAA Sports at 212-277-9000 or thagan@caa.com .
To purchase individual tickets and more information: visit www.jonjaychallenge.com .
5:45 p.m. Red carpet arrivals/media availability
6:15 p.m. Cocktails/hors d’oeuvres/introductions
6:45 p.m. Bowling Challenge begins
8:30 p.m. Silent Auction Ends
8:45 p.m. Winners announced

Annual Jon Jay Bowling Challenge, presented by FMSbonds, Inc., Featuring Jay, Other Star Athletes & Celebrities, to Benefit Boys & Girls Clubs of Miami-Dade  
Jay, St. Louis Cardinals Outfielder and Miami Native, to Host Event Open to the Public at Lucky Strike Lanes in Miami Beach

Jon Jay, St. Louis Cardinals outfielder and Miami native, will host his 2nd Annual Celebrity Bowling Challenge. Proceeds will benefit Boys & Girls Clubs of Miami-Dade to support its many positive programs for 10,000 area youth.

Along with other Major League Baseball stars, star athletes and celebrities, Jay will bowl with attendees during the fun-filled fundraising event. The evening will include red carpet arrivals, cocktails, hors d’oeuvres, exciting bowling matches and more. Sponsorships are available.

Athletes and celebrities in attendance will be David Freese, 3rd baseman, St. Louis Cardinals, 2011 World Series MVP; Yonder Alonso, 1st baseman, San Diego Padres; Blake Tekotte, outfielder, Chicago White Sox; Daniel Descalso, infielder, St. Louis Cardinals; Tyler Greene, infielder, Houston Astros; John Mayberry Jr., outfielder, Philadelphia Phillies; Cesar Carrillo, pitcher, Detroit Tigers; Jimmy Graham, New Orleans Saints tight end; and Bryan Greenberg, actor, HBO How to Make It in America.

“We’re very thankful to Jon Jay for choosing Boys & Girls Clubs of Miami-Dade to receive proceeds from this fun event,” said Alex Rodriguez-Roig, executive director of Boys & Girls Clubs of Miami-Dade. “With the efforts of individuals such as Jon, we continue to make a difference in the lives of many area youth.” 

“I played baseball at the Boys & Girls Club for years, so I’m thrilled about the opportunity to give back to an organization that has meant so much to me,” said Jay.


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Jon Jay put injury issues behind him

JonJayCards
ST. LOUIS -- Both Matt Holliday and Jon Jay, bothered by nagging injuries during the 2012 season, said this weekend that they are confident that there are no lingering effects from their respective issues.

Though Holliday never went on the disabled list, he was bothered by back tightness at various times last year. Holliday still insists that "it wasn't that big of a deal," though Cardinals manager Mike Matheny has identified Holliday as one of the players he will be more proactive in sitting in order to reduce the chance of injury this year.

Holliday's winter workout regimen has included therapy and strength exercises that have specifically targeted his lower back.

Jay did have a stint on the DL due to a left shoulder strain sustained when he ran into the outfield wall. Issues with that shoulder lingered for much of the season, though Jay on Sunday declared himself "100 percent."

He had his shoulder looked at by the club's medical staff before heading home for the winter, and everything checked out as it should have. That allowed Jay to then undertake a normal workout program.


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(mlb.com)
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2nd Annual Jon Jay Bowling Challenge to Benefit Boys & Girls Clubs of Miami-Dade

JonJayCards
Jon Jay, St. Louis Cardinals outfielder and Miami native, will host his 2nd Annual Celebrity Bowling Challenge. Proceeds will benefit Boys & Girls Clubs of Miami-Dade to support its many positive programs for 10,000 area youth.

Along with other Major League Baseball stars, Jay will bowl with attendees during the fun-filled fundraising event. The evening will include red carpet arrivals, cocktails, hors d’oeuvres, exciting bowling matches and more. Sponsorships are available.  

“We’re very thankful to Jon Jay for choosing Boys & Girls Clubs of Miami-Dade to receive proceeds from this fun event,” said Alex Rodriguez-Roig, executive director of Boys & Girls Clubs of Miami-Dade. “With the efforts of individuals such as Jon, we continue to make a difference in the lives of many area youth.”

“I played baseball at the Boys & Girls Club for years, so I’m thrilled about the opportunity to give back to an organization that has meant so much to me,” said Jay.

When:
Saturday, Jan. 26, 6-9 p.m.
5:45 p.m.         Red carpet arrivals/media availability
6:15 p.m.         Cocktails/hors d’oeuvres/introductions
6:45 p.m.         Bowling Challenge begins
8:30 p.m.         Winners announced

Where:
Lucky Strike Lanes
1691 Michigan Ave.
Miami Beach, FL 33139

Cost/Sponsorships: Individual tickets: $450 per bowling team (five guests will be matched with a celebrity) and $100 per person (singles will be randomly matched with other single entries/celebrities.)
 
Sponsorships: World Series Sponsorship ($5,000): Corporate/logo recognition on all marketing materials, corporate signage and the opportunity to include corporate products and/or literature during the event, 12 autographed baseballs by Jay and all MLB players in attendance, two bowling teams (10 people total)
Extra Innings Lane Sponsorship ($1,500): Corporate/logo recognition on all marketing materials, the opportunity to include corporate products and/or literature during the event, one bowling team (five people)

How: For sponsorship or additional event information, call Tom Hagan at CAA Sports at 212-277-9000 or thagan@caa.com. To purchase individual tickets and more information: visit www.jonjaychallenge.com.


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All Canes Radio With Jon Jay, Richard Giannotti, Kyle Bellamy

JonJayCards
Every Thursday Night proCanes.com joins All Canes Radio to bring the latest news on not only current Hurricane football but also proCane news and exclusive interviews with current and former proCanes live from Shake Shack in Coral Gables.

Click here to listen to this week’s show and hear our exclusive interviews with proCanes Richard Giannotti, Kyle Bellamy and World Series Champion Jon Jay. Listen as Giannotti talks about his University of Miami Baseball career, what brought him to the []_[], his travels through the minor leagues and his clothing company bubucheek. Bellamy talks to us about what it was like to change his pitching style, what playing for the White Sox organization is like and his hopes for the coming season. Jay tells us what it’s like to win a World Series, play with Abert Pujols, his favorite memories from his Hurricane days and much more!


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VIDEO: Jon Jay Tribute




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Jon Jay not among Gold Glove finalists

JonJayCards
ST. LOUIS - Jon Jay may win a Gold Glove at some point in his career. It won’t come this year.

Rawlings announced the finalists for the Gold Glove Awards Monday and the talented Cardinals outfielder was not among the three National League finalists for center field.  Selected instead were Michael Bourn of the Atlanta Braves, Andrew McCutchen of the Pittsburgh Pirates and Drew Stubbs of the Cincinnati Reds.

Voting was done by managers and up to six coaches per team. They are not allowed to vote for players on their own team.

Cardinals manager Mike Matheny campaigned numerous times for Jay to be considered for a Gold Glove Award. Jay didn’t commit an error in the regular season and made several highlight reel catches near or at the wall in center field.

Working against Jay was the fact that he only played in 117 games due a shoulder injury suffered while slamming into the wall in April.

Catcher Yadier Molina was the only Cardinals player listed among the finalists. He’s going for his fifth straight Gold Glove Award.

The awards will be announced Tuesday night at 8 p.m. CT. Former Cardinals shortstop Ozzie Smith will participate in the presentation.

Here is the complete list of finalists for both leagues:

National League

Pitcher: Bronson Arroyo, Reds; Mark Buehrle, Marlins; Clayton Kershaw, Dodgers
Catcher: Yadier Molina, Cardinals; Miguel Montero, Diamondbacks; Carlos Ruiz, Phillies
First base: Freddie Freeman, Braves; Adam LaRoche, Nationals; Joey Votto, Reds
Second base: Darwin Barney, Cubs; Aaron Hill, Diamondbacks; Brandon Phillips, Reds
Third base: Chase Headley, Padres; Aramis Ramirez, Brewers; David Wright, Mets
Shortstop: Zack Cozart, Reds; Ian Desmond, Nationals; Jose Reyes, Marlins; Jimmy Rollins, Phillies
Left field: Ryan Braun, Brewers; Carlos Gonzalez, Rockies; Martin Prado, Braves
Center field: Michael Bourn, Braves; Andrew McCutchen, Pirates; Drew Stubbs, Reds
Right field: Jay Bruce, Reds; Andre Ethier, Dodgers; Jason Heyward, Braves

American League

Pitcher: Jeremy Hellickson, Rays; Jake Peavy, White Sox; C.J. Wilson, Angels
Catcher: Alex Avila, Tigers; Russell Martin, Yankees; A.J. Pierzynski, White Sox; Matt Wieters, Orioles
First base: Adrian Gonzalez, Red Sox; Eric Hosmer, Royals; Mark Teixeira, Yankees
Second base: Dustin Ackley, Mariners; Robinson Cano, Yankees; Dustin Pedroia, Red Sox
Third base: Adrian Beltre, Rangers; Brandon Inge, A's; Mike Moustakas, Royals
Shortstop: Elvis Andrus, Rangers; J.J. Hardy, Orioles; Brendan Ryan, Mariners
Left field: Alex Gordon, Royals; Desmond Jennings, Rays; David Murphy, Rangers
Center field: Austin Jackson, Tigers; Adam Jones, Orioles; Mike Trout, Angels
Right field: Shin-Soo Choo, Indians; Jeff Francoeur, Royals; Josh Reddick, A's


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(foxsportsmidwest.com)
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Jon Jay's in charge in center

JonJayCards
It happened early in spring, perhaps even the first time they met as teammates, and its importance carried all the way through October.

Carlos Beltran, who has three Gold Glove Awards as souvenirs from his time as a center fielder, approached Jon Jay, the Cardinals' full-time center fielder for the first time. Jay had been thinking all offseason about how he needed to be more assertive in center. He wanted to lead more, yield less. And here was the Cardinals' new right fielder, one of the finest center fielders of his generation, coming to him with some words of advice.

"Hey, do your thing out there," he said, as Jay recalled. "You're the center fielder."

Emboldened by that role and encouraged by the two veterans flanking him, Beltran and left fielder Matt Holliday, Jay emerged this season as what manager Mike Matheny called "the quarterback of the outfield." Jay started 108 games in center, led the team in highlight-reel catches and went the entire regular season without committing an error. He will at least be a finalist for the Gold Glove Award and could win his first — a fact that his manager, general manager and even teammates trace back to what he first did in spring training.

He took charge.

"The largest area of improvement was really just him taking control of the outfield," Matheny said. "That's a pretty tough spot for a young player to be put into when you have Matt Holliday on one side and Carlos Beltran on the other with a lot of accolades on their shelves. He took control and that's a huge part of the position: (don't) be afraid to tell a guy, 'Hey, you need to get closer to the line.' They certainly have respect for Jon and his instincts now, and that's a huge step forward."

Added Jay: "I think it was having the chance to know I was going to be out there more, knowing that I was going to get the time to prove myself."

Time worked for Jay. It only recently worked against him.

Last month, the center fielder heard from his agent that he would fall less than a week shy of qualifying for arbitration this winter. This week it was announced that "Super Two" status was given to the players between two and three years of experience with the top 22 percent of service time.

Under the agreement between the union and the leagues last November, the bar this offseason was set at two years, 139 days. Jay has two years, 134 days. Those five days mean Jay won't have access to arbitration to raise his salary for 2013 and the Cardinals will have control of him for another four seasons.

"I came into the year knowing the situation. It doesn't change anything for me," Jay said. "I don't take anything for granted. I know how this game is. You've seen it a lot with guys in other years. You're in. You're out. I work hard to stay consistent. That stuff takes care of itself."

Jay speaks from experience because he's often been the player who was in while others were out. In 2010, his play as the fourth outfielder allowed the Cardinals to trade Ryan Ludwick for Jake Westbrook. In 2011, Jay outplayed Colby Rasmus in center and that led, in part, to a deal that sent Rasmus to Toronto and instantly steeled the bullpen for an October run. In 2012, Jay took over as the everyday center fielder, and he'll return as the incumbent in 2013 — but there may be a challenger on the horizon.

Oscar Taveras, 20, is being developed as a center fielder, and on Thursday general manager John Mozeliak called him "one of the most prolific hitters I've seen in our organization probably since Albert Pujols." Taveras won the Texas League's equivalent of most valuable player award after batting .321 with 23 home runs, 94 RBIs and a organization-high .572 slugging percentage. In six games already this fall for the Dominican Winter League, Taveras has a .364 average with two homers. Projected initially as a right fielder, Taveras has improved enough for the team to think his athletic ability will translate to center.
Although Taveras will come to big-league spring training in 2013, that doesn't mean he'll arrive as a center fielder or that he'll leave spring with the major-league club.

That takes time.

"That's a great question, frankly," Mozeliak said when asked how a young player could take control of the demanding position. "That should be what drives the answer. It is the hardest position to play as a rookie. When you think about getting Taveras in the mix I'm not sure what that looks like."

What it means for Jay is the very thing that allowed him to stand out and take over as center fielder for the Cardinals is what will keep him there.

He seized control of the role.

"Right now, he's our center fielder," Mozeliak said. "And he played like it."

Jay started the final 41 games of the regular season in center and all of the 13 playoff games. He will have his right shoulder re-examined soon to assure that the injury he sustained in April doesn't have lingering effects. Jay also took over at leadoff when Rafael Furcal faltered, and the lefthanded-hitting outfielder batted .303 in the top spot. Though a .224 average and a .289 on-base percentage on the road was a riddle, and hole in his season. Jay doesn't plan to spend much time this winter fretting about that extreme split, focusing instead on improving his approach at leadoff and his angles in the field.

He sees winning a Gold Glove much as he views falling short of arbitration: It takes time. Often a stellar defensive season puts the player in the conversation first and the Gold Glove doesn't follow until a year later — if the fielder earns the opportunity for an encore.

"I understand how all this stuff works," Jay said. "I know how this game is — you have to wait your turn. You have to put in your time, pay your dues. ... You put in your time, your work, and you wait patiently and then your time comes."


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(stltoday.com)
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Jon Jay loves himself some home cookin’

JonJayCards
That Cardinals leadoff man Jon Jay has struggled at the plate in the postseason is undeniable. Also undeniable: the Cardinals have played seven games on the road and just four at home.

Playing a second straight game in St. Louis on Thursday, Jay went 2-for-5 with a two-run double in the Cardinals’ 8-3 win over the Giants. It raised his postseason average to .195.

In 2012, Jay has simply been a different player at home. In the regular season, he had one of the more dramatic splits you’ll ever see:
Home: .384/.453/.496 in 224 AB
Away: .224/.289/.301 in 219 AB

It’s carried over into October, too. He’s 5-for-16 with six RBI in home games and 3-for-25 with one RBI the rest of the time.

Of course, most likely, this whole thing is one big fluke. Busch Stadium isn’t a hitter friendly park, though it does play better for left-handed hitters than right-handers. Also, Jay was actually better in road games than home games last year.

Still, Jay is probably the happiest of the bunch about the Cardinals possessing home-field advantage in the World Series, should they win one of the next three games and move on. It’d be the first time in the postseason that they’d have home field.


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(nbcsports.com)
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Jon Jay likely happier to be at home than most

JonJayCards
ST. LOUIS -- They say there is something comforting about being home, but Jon Jay has taken that to the extreme in 2012. Jay's home-road splits would suggest he's thrilled to be back at Busch Stadium, where the center fielder hit .384 and posted a .453 on-base percentage during the regular season.

His numbers outside of St. Louis are hardly comparable. Jay's road batting average is .224; his on-base percentage is only .289. And in a nearly identical number of plate appearances, Jay has walked eight fewer times and struck out 13 more times on the road than he did at Busch Stadium.

"For whatever reason, right now it is trending that direction," manager Mike Matheny said. "But Jon's been such a big pickup for us as far as being able to step into that leadoff spot -- and it's nice he's done it at home. He takes the same approach on the road. He still puts together tough at-bats. I don't see any reason [for the discrepancy], and hopefully he doesn't think more [about] it than he should."

Jay's postseason numbers have so far followed the same trend. While 2-for-8 in two home playoff games, Jay has just four hits in 29 road at-bats. Still, he continues to be a fixture in the leadoff spot, which has been exclusively his since Rafael Furcal went down with a season-ending injury.


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(mlb.com)
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Jon Jay's extraordinary catch stops Washington rally in 6th

JonJayCards
ST. LOUIS -- Manager Mike Matheny has been plugging Jon Jay's Gold Glove Award candidacy for weeks now, insistent that the Cardinals center fielder has been as steady as anyone at the position this season. Jay topped his personal highlight reel on Monday.

Though the Cards had already built a comfortable lead in Game 2 of the National League Division Series, Jay halted a potential rally-starting moment with a catch he agreed should be labeled the best of his 2012 bunch. Others chimed in with a similarly strong sentiment after St. Louis' 12-4 victory over Washington.

"That's the best catch I've ever seen, all things considered," Cardinals first baseman Allen Craig said. "Just the timing of it. He stuck his glove up at the last second, ran into the wall and held onto it. Everything about it was great."

The grab came in the sixth inning, with the Cards ahead, 7-3, and Danny Espinosa at the plate. Facing rookie reliever Joe Kelly, Espinosa drove a first-pitch fastball to deep left-center. Jay sprinted, looking over his left shoulder as he did, and never slowed down as he reached the warning track.

Jay's glove went up against the wall, and as the ball went in, he collided with the padding. Jay held on to the ball, showing it with his hand as he tumbled to the ground.

"I saw it up there and got a pretty good jump," Jay said. "I got to the warning track and made a choice to jump. I knew I had to make a choice, and I made a jump and I was able to do that."

The leaping catch took away a leadoff extra-base hit from Espinosa, who entered the at-bat 0-for-4 in the series.

"When I hit that ball, I thought it was for sure over his head," Espinosa said. "I thought I got enough of it to actually hit it out. He went a long way and made a great play."

The sellout crowd of 45,840 gave Jay an extended ovation as he returned to his position in center. The play was shown several times on the Busch Stadium video board. Jay heard augmented applause again when he came to bat in the bottom half of the inning.

"I definitely appreciated it," Jay said of the recognition. "It was great for the fans to show their support like that. I've never had a stadium get that loud for me doing something. That was definitely something special."

Jay's night, while punctuated by that catch, was not entirely defined by it. The leadoff hitter reached base three times, drove in three runs and scored one. Two of his RBIs came with two out.

Jay maintained an aggressiveness on the basepaths, too. Though he was thrown out trying to extend a single into a two-base hit in the second, Jay swiped a base and legged out a triple later in the game.

Though his offensive contributions on Monday had a greater impact on the outcome, Jay's Game 2 performance will nevertheless be remembered for the moment in which he shined in the field.

"He's been so consistent in the outfield making the routine play, but the biggest thing about him is how he's taken charge in the outfield," Cardinals manager Mike Matheny said. "He's truly been quarterbacking and improving, and it's fun to watch him do his thing."

jaygrab


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(sbnation.com)
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MUST SEE VIDEO: Jon Jay Catch of the Year




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Jon Jay's RBI double leads Cards past Dodgers 5-2 in extra innings

JonJayCards
LOS ANGELES (AP) -- Jon Jay hit a go-ahead RBI double during a three-run 12th inning and the St. Louis Cardinals split of a four-game series against the Los Angeles Dodgers, beating them 5-2 on Sunday and regaining undisputed possession of the second NL wild card spot.

John Ely (0-2) issued a leadoff walk to Matt Carpenter and Jay drove him on from second base with a line drive into the right field corner on an 0-2 pitch. Jay scored on an infield hit up the middle by Allen Craig and Yadier Molina walked with the bases loaded.

Rookie Shelby Miller (1-0) pitched one inning for his first major league victory.


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(kmov.com)
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Jon Jay leading the way

JonJayCards
Jon Jay is getting the danged thing done as the Cardinals’ leadoff hitter. In what was easily one of the best moves made by Mike Matheny this season, the manager moved Jay to the No. 1 spot in the second week of August. Jay took over for a slumping Rafael Furcal who moved down to 7th or 8th in the lineup. In 27 games and 126 plate appearances as the leadoff man, Jay is batting .333 with a .419 onbase percentage and a solid .463 slugging percentage. Though it’s a much smaller sample size, Jay’s OPS in the No. 1 slot (.882) is better than the .691 OPS posted by Furcal in the leadoff position.

Jay also continues to rule over at Busch Stadium as if it’s his private backyard. In 205 plate appearances at home this season, Jay is batting .378 with a .460 OBP and .500 SLG for a .960 OPS.


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(stltoday.com)
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Jon Jay playing Gold Glove-caliber defense

JonJayCards
ST. LOUIS — First-year Cardinals manager Mike Matheny doesn't know all the particulars of how voting for the Gold Gloves work. But he knows his center fielder Jon Jay should be among those getting serious consideration for the award.

In his first full season as the St. Louis Cardinals' everyday center fielder, Jay has continued to impress with highlight reel catches on a seemingly nightly basis. But whether or not the 27-year-old has been around long enough for others to notice remains to be seen.

"I'll lobby for him however I can," Matheny said recently. "I've been more than impressed."

Jay has made at least four running catches near the wall in the past few weeks and continues to track down balls in the gaps with ease. He made a nice running catch Monday night in Pittsburgh near the wall in right-center despite starting on the left field side of center when the pitch was thrown.

Working against the left-handed Jay is the fact that he missed a month earlier in the season while on the disabled list with an injury that happened when he slammed into the wall in late April. A rare miscue, Jay reached the wall a step before he anticipated and slammed his shoulder awkwardly into the center-field fence.

But the injury makes his recent play even more impressive. Some young players may become hesitant near the wall after suffering a serious injury on a similar play. But Jay charges back toward the wall as if nothing ever happen. And he's been making play after play of late.

"You can't think about it," Jay said. "This game, you have to play it hard and that's how I play it. I'm not thinking about that. I'm not thinking about how I got hurt last time and stuff. I learned from it and I'm trying to go out there mentally ready."

According to the website FanGraphs.com, Jay ranks sixth among National League center fielders with 57 "out of zone" plays, or plays that would be considered tougher than average for a normal center fielder. But Jay has played only 695 innings, 200 fewer than any of the five players ahead of him.

Compare Jay's 57 "out of zone" plays in 695 innings and his percentage of plays per time on the field would move him to No. 1 on the list. Currently, Michael Bourn, Angel Pagan, Cameron Maybin, Shane Victorino and Andrew McCutchen rank ahead of him. Only Bourn and Victorino have won Gold Gloves in their career.

Also working against Jay is the fact that it usually takes an extra year or two for a deserving player to win. Cardinals catcher Yadier Molina, who has won four consecutive Gold Gloves, didn't win his first until 2008 despite being seen as the best defensive catcher in the league for at least the two previous seasons.

Still, his manager thinks he's been one of the best defensive outfielders he's seen this season and hopes others take notice as well.  

"I can't imagine that he won't get some consideration, only because of the highlight reel catches he's been able to make and that consistency," Matheny said. "He's making the plays he needs to make."

The first-year skipper challenged the fact that Jay doesn't have the playing time the other top outfielders do saying: "He's played a lot too. He wasn't shut down that long, and he's made enough good plays that have gotten national attention too that people will take a look at the statistics.

"I just have a hard time coming across, as you kind of go through the league, many guys that are better.”

The decision rests with the managers and coaches of the National League. The managers and coaches of each league vote on the awards, and they aren't allowed to vote for their own players.

Matheny admits that even though it shouldn't, "offense always counts" when it comes to the Gold Glove awards. And while Jay may not have the home runs or RBI that some other candidates have, he's hitting a respectable .312 following a 1-for-4 night on Tuesday.

But the award is for defense, and Jay has done plenty of late to throw his name in the hat.

"When you talk about the impact defensively a player has made," Matheny said, "I just can't imagine anybody is having more of an impact than he is."

At some point, Jay appears destined to win a Gold Glove. Whether or not the coaches around the league feel impressed enough to make it happen this year remains to be seen.


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(foxsportsmidwest.com)
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Jon Jay stays hot with RBI single

JonJayCards
Cardinals center fielder Jon Jay went 1-for-5 with an RBI single and a run scored in Sunday's win over the Reds.

Spin: Jay has been hitting the ball well over a seven-game hitting streak, batting .389 (14-for-36) with six runs scored, two doubles and three RBIs. The outfielder now has 18 RBIs since the All-Star break -- five more than he had in the first half in three fewer games played.


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(fantasysp.com)
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Jon Jay turns game Cards' way

JonJayCards
Center fielder Jon Jay almost single-handedly turned the Cardinals' 2-1 deficit into a 3-2 lead in Wednesday's fifth inning.

The Cardinals' leadoff hitter built on consecutive three-hit games by scoring Rafael Furcal with a one-out single, taking second on a wayward throw home, advancing to third base on Matt Carpenter's right-side grounder, then scoring on Astros pitcher Bud Norris' short-hop pitch.

Jay singled in the third and fifth inning and stole his way into scoring position after the first hit. He exited the fifth inning 10-for-30 on the current home stand. He has 28 hits this month and now leads the club with 14 steals. Jay entered the sixth inning 8-for-17 in his last three games.

Cardinals starter Kyle Lohse has settled after allowing two early solo home runs. However, Jay bailed him out of a potential sixth-inning jam with a running basket catch against the outfield wall to rob Brett Wallace of extra bases. Jay received a standing ovation from the Busch Stadium crowd and  widespread acknowledgement inside the home dugout.

The Cardinals out-hit the Astros 7-3 through 5 1/2 innings. The Cardinals have put six runnners into scoring position. Except for the two home runs, the Astros have pushed only one runner to second base against Lohse.

First baseman Allen Craig extended his hit streak to 11 games with a second-inning single that eventually led to the Cardinals' first run.


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(stltoday.com)
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Jon Jay stays hot

JonJayCards
Jon Jay stayed red-hot Monday, going 2-for-4 with a homer and two RBI in a win over the Diamondbacks.

Jay has now piled up six multi-hit efforts during his eight-game hitting streak, pushing his average up from .284 to .315 during that stretch. He's settled into the leadoff spot for the Cardinals.


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(rotoworld.com)
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Jon Jay Does It With Defense

JonJayCards
One gradually is being acknowledged as one of the best center field defenders in the game. The other is a good outfielder who gradually has become more than passable at second base.

Together, Jon Jay and Skip Schumaker comprised the defensive backbone of the Cardinals' 8-2 win over the Arizona Diamondbacks at Busch Stadium.

The highlight reels will feature Jay's running catch, after a long chase of Stephen Drew's fifth-inning drive. Jay, reaching high, gloved the ball a step or so in front of the wall and then bounced off it.

The ball popped loose but Jay somehow was able to trap it, keeping the ball from falling to the ground and then, with the help of his bare hand, nudging it back into his glove. The ball tried to escape his clutches one more time before he finally corralled it, getting winning pitcher Joe Kelly out of the inning.

Jay, seeking to reduce the explanation to its basics, said, "The ball went up, I ran after it, I caught it. I don't know.

"I had to jump for it and as I was landing, I kind of saw it coming out and I was able to snatch it back. It all happened so fast I was happy to make the catch."

An appreciative Kelly said, "Anything hit out into center field, I feel like there's a play on it every time. The ball could be crushed, laced, whatever. He can lay out or climb walls to rob homers. He enjoys it. It's good to know that when he's out there you can get away with a miss on a pitch."

Manager Mike Matheny said, "(Jay) is as good as anybody right now. The catch against Drew was a terrific jump. He's got great instincts with the ball off the bat. He's making our whole outfield better."

A couple of innings earlier, Jay felt he should have made another catch on Drew, but the ball hit directly at Jay tipped off his glove after he broke a bit late.

"I messed that one up," said Jay. "It's a ball I thought I should have had. Joe did a good job getting a big double play there and I could breathe a little easier."


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(mlb.com)
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Jon Jay laying claim to leadoff spot in Cards' order

JonJayCards
ST. LOUIS -- It appears as if the Cardinals have settled on a new regular leadoff hitter, at least for as long as it takes Rafael Furcal to move past the nagging back stiffness that has coincided with his drop in production.

Manager Mike Matheny plugged Jon Jay into that leadoff spot for a second straight game Thursday. And, encouraged by how Jay has seemingly turned a corner offensively, Matheny seems ready to keep the center fielder there.

"I do like Jon Jay at the top of the lineup, especially with the way he's swinging the bat right now, even against the lefties," Matheny said after the Cardinals' 3-1 win Thursday. "He puts together a good at-bat. He's not afraid to work the count.

"Now, with that being said, I think we all saw where Rafael Furcal, when he is right, what he can do at the top of the lineup, so we're not ruling out that that's going to come back around. But right now it's a good fit for Raffy to sit down in the eight-spot and really work the count. I'm confident he's going to get back there, and we'll have a tough decision about how to use that leadoff spot."

Jay would seem to fit the mold of what the Cardinals are looking for at that top spot in the order. His .383 on-base percentage is third-best on the club, behind only Matt Holliday and Skip Schumaker. Jay, as he displayed Thursday, also has the speed to set up RBI opportunities for the team's middle-of-the-lineup hitters.

Jay swiped two bases Thursday, giving him a team-leading 13 this season.

"Just every day I'm working hard, trying to keep it simple and have good at-bats," said Jay, downplaying any significance to where he hits in the order.
Jay has been getting on base with regularity lately, too. He has notched four straight multi-hit games, going 10-for-15 during that stretch.


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(mlb.com)
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Jon Jay has four hits in win over Giants

JonJayCards
Jon Jay went 4-for-4 with two RBI and a run scored in a win over the Giants on Monday.

All four hits were singles. His two-run single in the bottom of the seventh busted the game open. Jay has struggled quite a bit since returning from the disabled list in late June and figures to sit against lefties, but he can help in deeper mixed formats when he's hot.


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(rotoworld.com)
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Jon Jay's defense proving he is an elite center fielder

JonJayCards
CHICAGO -- Jon Jay's dazzling acrobatic catch on Friday -- a catch that ranks among baseball's best this season -- is just the latest feather in the cap for the Cardinals' center fielder, who has been turning heads with his defensive play all season.

While Jay insists that he does not compare his catches, Friday's backward leap and dive to rob Anthony Rizzo of extra bases has to be at or near the top of Jay's career list. And perhaps it takes such a sensational play to earn Jay the recognition that those in the Cardinals' clubhouse have been insistent he deserves for months now.

"From what I'm seeing, I can't imagine anybody doing any better job than what he has done," manager Mike Matheny said. "He's made all the plays he should make and then made a lot that we never thought he would. He's taking charge out there. Every pitch, he's thinking, moving, directing. To me, that's one of the most valuable things. That's where I've seen him take steps -- that he's leading out there."

Especially impressive is that Jay's leadership has come primarily with veteran All-Stars -- Matt Holliday and Carlos Beltran -- to each side. He's done so, too, in what is his first full season as a starter. It was at this time last year that Jay took over as the team's everyday center fielder after the Cardinals traded Colby Rasmus.

"I just go out there and try to help the team win," Jay said. "I definitely take pride in my defense. It's something that I do work on a lot. I want to be a complete player."

The numbers back up the Cardinals' claim that Jay has been one of the league's best at the position. His ultimate zone rating -- a sabermetric statistic that reflects how someone compares to an average player at that position -- of 6.3 is second best among the 14 National League players to log at least 400 innings in center field.

Jay has also yet to commit an error this season.

"This year, I think he came believing that this was his job," Matheny said. "And he wants to do it right."

(mlb.com)
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Jon Jay goes back to basics to recapture his swing

JonJayCards
Caught in a timing warp at the plate, Cardinals center fielder Jon Jay swore off video last week, stopped looking at clips of that day's opposing pitcher and sought comfort in the only tool he could trust to reset his swing.

He grabbed a batting tee and started from scratch.

"When you're going bad there are so many things going wrong that I said I'm going to go into the cage and back to basics," Jay said. "Hitting the ball to left field. That's been my bread and butter since I was a little kid. When I'm doing that, good things happen."

Good things such as a career-high four hits Sunday as Jay delivered the first two runs of the Cardinals' 7-0 victory against the Cubs.

Jay snapped a lingering funk with his four-for-four game at Busch Stadium, raising his batting average from .289 to .304 in a single afternoon. His two-run, two-out double in the first inning went to left field, his next two singles went to left field, and his fourth hit was a slow hopper that found a soft spot on, yep, the left side of the infield.

Jay, who had been hitting .213 since returning from a shoulder injury that had put him on the disabled list, said his struggles at the plate reached a point that the only solution was to start over. He stopped looking at his past at-bats for clues on what went wrong or what was right. He stopped scanning video of opposing pitchers so that he didn't cloud his head with a different approach every day. Instead, he retreated to the cage with hitting coaches Mark McGwire and John Mabry and went back to the drills he uses when first starting to hit in the offseason.

Timing was the trick.

When the Cardinals drafted Jay out the University of Miami in 2006, scouts described how he had an unorthodox approach at the plate, but when the pitch arrived, it worked to hit for a high average. Jay had a vigorous hand pump, and there was concern that it might lead to a loop in his swing. He called it his "helicopter hands" because of how they rotate before settling down. He tried to stop the pump entirely in the minors, but returned to a reduced version of it as he reached the majors.

"That swing has a lot of stuff going on it," Cardinals manager Mike Matheny said this weekend as he gave Jay a break from the lineup to find his timing. "It's not like he can have somebody tell him, 'Hey, you're doing this.' You can break it down film-wise, but it's a feeling that comes from the right timing. When you have a lot of moving parts in a swing, it's a lot of maintenance. When he gets it right, it's pretty dynamic."

Jay, who separated his shoulder crashing into the wall earlier this season, insisted there was nothing inhibiting his swing physically.

The time off to heal had thrown off his rhythm. He had become jumpy at the plate, less still as the pitcher delivered the pitch, and, he said Sunday, pulled off some of the pitches. By going back to the tee, he was able to work on calming his stance and drive the ball to left field.

Cubs' starter Travis Wood played into his approach.

Wood, a lefty, had held lefthanded batters such as Jay to a .118 average and a .221 slugging percentage this season. Matheny wanted to get some regulars a breather Sunday and that forced him to use Jay; it also highlighted a statistical curiosity in his struggles. Since June 22, the day he returned from the disabled list, Jay was 10 for 50 (.200) against righthanded pitchers with a only two doubles. Against lefties, he had seven hits in his previous 21 at-bats before Sunday, and he was 11 for 25 (.440) after Sunday's win.

Jay said he was able to take advantage of Wood pitching on the outer third of the plate and drive the ball to ... left field. Jay drove a 2-2 pitch from Wood down the left-field line for the two-run double that put the Cardinals ahead 2-0 in the first inning.

"Looks like his timing is getting there," Matheny said. "Big day for his confidence without question. Hopefully, he can ride that for awhile."

Jay said the sensation he had at the plate had been "building for a couple days," but he cautioned that just because his swing produced results doesn't mean his swing is fixed. That doesn't happen in one game. It happens, he explained, when he's able to make corrections a lot quicker than he has this time.

"Sometimes, you lose it and it's one of those things you can't put a finger on," Jay said. "Look at guys on this team like Carlos (Beltran) and Matt (Holliday), guys who have a lot of success and are real consistent. They find a way to not let those times happen for a long time. That's what I'm trying to do now. Adjust. Get back on track."


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(stltoday.com)
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Jon Jay Hits at Number 2 Spot

JonJayCards
Manager Mike Matheny restored the Cardinals' batting order to a more customary look — at the top, at least — for tonight's series opener against the Los Angeles Dodgers at Busch Stadium.

Rafael Furcal returns to the leadoff spot after a day off Sunday, and Jon Jay jumps back into the No. 2 hole after his four-hit game Sunday in a 7-0 victory over the Cubs.

Third baseman David Freese (.305, 14 homers, 55 RBIs) and first baseman-outfielder Allen Craig (.304, 14, 47) are not in tonight's lineup. Looking at that another way: the Cardinals enter the game with a hot-hitting bench duo. Freese is batting .414 (12 for 29) in his last 10 games and Craig is hitting .333 (13 for 39).

Another reason it might be wise to have Freese sit:  He's 0 for 6 — all strikeouts — in his career vs. Dodgers starter Chad Billingsley.

"It's not a real good matchup for him," said Matheny. "Sometimes you just struggle with certain guys, so when we see those coming, we stay away from them."


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(stltoday.com)
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Jon Jay comes alive with career-high four-hit day

JonJayCards
ST. LOUIS -- Jon Jay had dug himself into a hole while batting .190 over the first 14 games of July, prompting Cardinals manager Mike Matheny to give him the day off on Friday. After spending some extra time in the cages on his off-day and going back to the basics, Jay seems to be back on track.

The Cardinals' center fielder collected a career-high four hits on Sunday in a 7-0 win over Chicago, including a two-run double in the first inning. Jay also knocked in two against the Cubs on Saturday and had back-to-back multi-RBI games for the first time this year.

"I always want the approach of, 'I'd rather get through it in the games,'" said Jay, who brought his average up to .304 on the year. "But sometimes the best thing to do is take a step back. That's what I did [Friday]."

Each of Jay's four hits Sunday went to left field and came against left-handers. He said he knows he is doing things right when he can drive the ball to the opposite field. Jay has been hitting lefties well this season, batting .327 in 49 at-bats.

Jay had missed more than a month starting in mid-May with a sore right shoulder, and is batting .253 since returning from the disabled list on June 22.
While Matheny believes Jay was struggling to find his timing on his swing, Jay said he couldn't figure out what was going on but did feel more confident at the plate the last two days.

"You know how baseball is," Jay said. "Some days you get pitches to hit, some days you don't. Sometimes the balls fall for you. You just have to take the good with the bad and that's what I've been doing. I understand that I got four hits today, but tomorrow's a new day and there's a lot games left, and I have to be ready for them all."


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(mlb.com)
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Jon Jay hitting .255 since return

JonJayCards
Cardinals outfielder Jon Jay returned from the disabled list in late June and has made 14 starts since then. He has gone 13 for 51 (.255) with four RBI and three stolen bases in 16 games since returning from a separated right shoulder.




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(fantasysp.com)
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The underappreciated Jon Jay

JonJayCards
When the name "St. Louis Cardinals" gets thrown around on a national landscape the first names to pop into the conversation are Matt Holliday, Chris Carpenter, Adam Wainwright, Yadier Molina, etc.

And, quite frankly, rightfully so.  They've got track records of performing at the highest levels for an extended period of time.

But one name you will almost never hear associated with the core of this team is Jon Jay.  He'll never be considered the Cardinals' best player.  He'll never make $15 million a year like those other guys mentioned above.

What he will do, however, is continue to do everything that helps the Cardinals win baseball games.  I'm not sure there is a more underappreciated or underrated player on the club today.

In 857 career at-bats, Jay has a .303 batting average and .355 on-base percentage.  Those are very good numbers by anyone's guage.  But the thing that makes Jay, to me anyway, is how he's consistently getting better.

How many times do you see supremely talented players come up to the big leagues and have most of their success right away.  But they don't build on it.  Colby Rasmus come to mind?

Jon Jay, as good as he's been, is still improving as an all-around player.  Defensively he's become the unquestioned quarterback of the outfield...making key catches all over while directing traffic among his fellow defenders.

Offensively, he's making similar strides.  Jay's .339/.392/.426 line represents marked improvement over 2010 and 2011.  He's an outstanding contact hitter that does not strike out very much.  He's a line drive kind of guy who can beat you with power if you make a mistake over the heart of the plate.  And he's starting to take a few more walks which will raise that OBP even more.

It's not a complete surprise Jay's absence from the lineup with an injured shoulder coincided with the offense's downturn.  Sure there were other factors involved there inluding injuries to other players while the healthy ones didn't perform as needed.  But Jay's return also coincided with the offense's recent explosion against Kansas City.

Is it all Jon Jay that's responsible for the ebb and flow of this offense?  Not a chance.  Is he an often overlooked piece that has more to do with it than many realize?  I believe the answer to that is yes.

He's not the best player on the Cardinals...but he's awfully important to their success.


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(kmov.com)
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Jon Jay (shoulder) homers, triples in rehab game

JonJayCards
Jon Jay (shoulder) went 2-for-4 with a home run, a triple, a walk, three RBI and three runs scored Wednesday in his latest rehab game with Triple-A Memphis.

Nice to see. Jay, who is currently rehabbing a shoulder sprain, shouldn't need many more rehab games. He'll be worth using in deeper mixed leagues upon his return.


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(rotoworld.com)
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Jon Jay on road back

JonJayCards
CF Jon Jay, out more than a month with a right shoulder strain, has been hitting for the last couple of days. He should be ready for a rehabilitation assignment this week for Class AAA Memphis.



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(ksdk.com)
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Jon Jay set to begin rehab assignment this week

JonJayCards
Refreshing news here for the scuffling Cardinals.

According to beat reporter Brian Stull of 101 ESPN in St. Louis, center fielder Jon Jay has been cleared to embark on a minor league rehab assignment Wednesday afternoon with Triple-A Memphis.

Jay was placed on the disabled list in mid-May with a right shoulder sprain, suffered on the play pictured in this post — a Drew Stubbs home run. He finally began making progress early last week, first with games of long-toss and then with batting practice.

The 27-year-old was hitting .343/.395/.438 in 27 games before the injury, serving as an important table-setter at the top of the St. Louis lineup. The Cards will hope he can pick up right where he left off upon returning.


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(hardballtalk.com)
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Jon Jay halts rehab workouts for injured shoulder

JonJayCards
NEW YORK -- Jon Jay, who has been hampered by a right shoulder injury for six weeks now, will be shut down for seven to 10 days in an attempt to reduce the bothersome inflammation.

Jay had the shoulder re-examined on Thursday and, according to general manager John Mozeliak, there were no new findings. That's good news in that it confirmed that Jay does not have any structural damage in the shoulder.

The inflammation, as manager Mike Matheny explained, is around the area of the shoulder where Jay received a recent cortisone shot.
Though Jay avoided a DL stint initially after jamming his right shoulder into the outfield wall on April 19, the discomfort grew to the point that by mid-May, the Cardinals had to shut him down.

Jay traveled to the Cardinals' Jupiter, Fla., complex earlier this week in hopes that, while there, he'd be able to increase his level of activity and work his way off the DL. However, with the discomfort not waning, Jay opted to get his shoulder looked at once again to make sure there were no other undetected issues.

Mozeliak said that the Cardinals are still discussing what the next step will be for Jay following this period of rest. Jay is returning to St. Louis, where he'll resume his rehab work when cleared.


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(mlb.com)
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Jon Jay expected back Friday

JonJayCards
The Cardinals expect both Allen Craig and Jon Jay to be back with the big league club by the end of the week, according to Fox Sports Midwest.

Jay was hitting .343 with a pair of home runs when he went down with a shoulder injury. Craig was batting .373 with five home runs and 19 batted in with only 13 games under his belt after missing the first month of the season following knee surgery. 

The pair will be a welcome addition to a team that has been inconsistent lately in scoring runs. Outfielders Shane Robinson and Adron Chambers seem the most likely candidates to be sent out to Class AAA Memphis.

Robinson was shipped out and barely had time to unpack before he was summoned back when Jay's shoulder flared back up. Chambers, who contributed significantly in late 2011 as an injury fill in, was called up when Craig strained his hamstring.

Those players are expendable because Skip Schumaker has been able to step up and play some centerfield lately. 


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(bnd.com)
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Jon Jay participates in first workout since injury

JonJayCards
ST. LOUIS -- Cardinals outfielder Jon Jay took a step forward in his return from a sprained right shoulder before Friday's game against the Phillies.

Jay hit off a tee and did some soft toss in his first workout since the injury that sent him to the disabled list on May 16. He said he is hopeful to rejoin the team during its upcoming 10-game road trip to Atlanta, New York and Houston.

The outfielder, who hit .343 with two home runs and eight RBIs in his first 27 games this season, wasn't sure if he would need a rehab assignment before returning to the active roster.

"We'll see how these next couple days go," Jay said. "Today was just the first day. I still have to do a couple more things. It's coming along. It's definitely getting better."

General manager John Mozeliak said Jay was on track to return soon after his 15 days on the disabled list were up.

"Jay may be a day or two extra, but he swung the bat today and felt pretty good," Mozeliak said.


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(mlb.com)
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Jon Jay placed on disabled list

JonJayCards
ST. LOUIS -- Center fielder Jon Jay was put on the 15-day disabled list Tuesday by the St. Louis Cardinals because of shoulder soreness.

St. Louis played the finale of a five-game homestand with only one regular outfielder, left fielder Matt Holliday. Right fielder Carlos Beltran missed his second straight start because of a minor knee injury but was available to pinch hit, and first baseman Lance Berkman was a late lineup scratch.

"We decided to stay cautious with Carlos and give him another day," manager Mike Matheny said. "His knee has been barking."

The team gave no reason for scratching Berkman, who had played two games since coming off the disabled list from a left calf injury.

Jay injured his right shoulder when he banged into an outfield wall last month. He's 3 for 18 on the homestand with one hit, a bunt single, in his past 15 at-bats.

Jay is hitting .343 in 26 games and went 1 for 4 in Monday's 6-4 loss to the Chicago Cubs.

Outfielder Shane Robinson was recalled from Triple-A Memphis after one day in the minors. Robinson was 3 for 4 with a triple on Monday, and arrived minus his equipment.

Robinson planned on asking utilityman Skip Schumaker, who started in center field, for a few items of equipment to tide him over.

"I didn't think anything would happen this soon. But it did," Robinson said. "It's been pretty chaotic."

Third baseman David Freese, in an 0 for 11 slump, also was not in the lineup.


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(espn.com)
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Jon Jay breaks streak

JonJayCards
St. Louis Cardinals OF Jon Jay went 0-for-2 with two walks and a sacrifice Thursday, May 3, to snap his season-high 11-game hitting streak. He hit .488 (21-for-43) during the streak.




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(kffl.com)
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Jon Jay pulls off another heist

JonJayCards
HOUSTON _ Jon Jay, doing his best impersonation of Terry Moore, Curt Flood, Willie McGee and Jim Edmonds, all great Cardinals defensive center fielders of the past, turned in his sixth extraordinary play of the three-game series here in the fifth inning today.

With a runner at first base and nobody out, center fielder Jay and left fielder Matt Holliday raced toward the left-center-field canyon in chase of pinch hitter Houston pinch hitter Justin Maxwell's drive. As the flyhawks seemed about to collide, Holliday pulled up short and Jay made a sliding catch at the warning track.

Second baseman Tyler Greene then started a nifty double play to take Adam Wainwright out of the inning. 

Greene, who earlier had driven in three runs, ran his way to another run in the sixth as the Cardinals went ahead, 7-1.

Greene walked, stole second and had third stolen, too, as Wainwright grounded to the third baseman. Green then scored on Rafael Furcal's infield hit.


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(stltoday.com)
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Jon Jay continues his scorching-hot start

JonJayCards
HOUSTON -- Jon Jay's hitting streak ended at 11 games on Thursday. But the Cardinals' center fielder was back at it again on Friday, adding two more hits to his season total. He hit .488 during the streak and had three three-hit games in the first five games of the recent homestand.

Just how hot is Jay's bat? Despite two hits (2-for-5) on Friday, Jay actually lowered his batting average to .414 for the season. He doesn't have enough at-bats to qualify, but if he did, Jay would be leading the National League in hitting.

Jay said he felt the key to his recent hitting streak was not pressing and staying within his simple game plan.

"Just go out there and try to have good at-bats," Jay said. "As simple as it may sound, just swing at strikes and take the balls. That's my game plan out there. I think anytime any hitter does that, they're going to have some success. So that's pretty much all I'm trying to do right now.

"I don't think about hitting streaks or what I'm doing personally. I feel like if we win a ballgame, I've done something right. That's the way I measure my successes."


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(mlb.com)
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Jon Jay Swinging A Hot Bat




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Jon Jay passes crucial test

JonJayCards
While his teammates enjoyed an off day Thursday, Cardinals outfielder Jon Jay reported to Busch Stadium for a test that determined what he would be on this weekend — the lineup card or the disabled list.

After three hits in his start Friday, clearly he passed.

Jay took about 100 swings in the team's cages during a workout Thursday that he described as intense. The goal was to gauge if his shoulder, sprained a week earlier, was ready for him to play or if the Cardinals would have to consider a roster move to give him more rest.

"We had waited enough," Jay said. "It was time to decide. It had gotten to the time when I really needed to test it out."

Under the watch of hitting coach Mark McGwire and members of the training staff, Jay did well enough in the cage Thursday to prove he could start Friday. Returned to the No. 2 spot in the order, Jay laced three singles and tied a career high with three RBIs in the Cardinals' 13-1 rout of the Milwaukee Brewers. In the decisive eight-run third inning, Jay had two singles, one to help spark the rally and another to drive in two runs that continued it.

Jay raised his average to .375, and he left the ballpark Friday night with the highest on-base percentage of any regular starter, at .412.

"That was a big test for me," Jay said after facing Milwaukee's opening day starter, Yovani Gallardo. "I didn't know how it was going to be in the game. You're never going to feel 100 percent ... but it can get better."

What got worse after Jay left the lineup with his shoulder sprain was the offense. Other than a brief appearance as a pinch runner, Jay missed the entirety of the six-game road trip during which the team struggled to score. Most of the credit went to the opponent's starting pitchers, especially Cubs righties Matt Garza and Jeff Samardzija, who handcuffed the Cardinals in consecutive games at Wrigley Field this past week. But a contributing factor was absences.

The Cardinals went the whole road trip without Jay and Lance Berkman in the lineup. Berkman has the bigger reputation. Jay has had the better production this month.

Jay left the lineup to tend to his injured shoulder with a .391 on-base percentage. In the six games before he slammed into the center field wall and mildly separated his right shoulder, Jay hit .400 (eight for 20) and slugged .600. With Carlos Beltran pressed into service as the cleanup hitter, Jay had thrived in the No. 2 spot in the order. After going three for five there Friday, Jay is now batting .450 at No. 2 with seven RBIs and 10 times on base in 21 plate appearances.

"I don't see any reason to mess with it right now," manager Mike Matheny said about hitting Jay second when he's healthy. "Things went very well. I think he fits in that spot. But he has the flexibility to bounce around to a couple of other spots in the lineup as well."

The question Thursday morning wasn't where he would be in the lineup, but if he could be in the lineup. Jay went to the park unsure.

Comforted on Monday by a scan of the shoulder that showed no structural damage and confirmed the sprain, Jay received an anti-inflammatory shot to help speed the healing. That forced him to take a couple days off to let the shot's medication take effect. When it had cleared, he went to the cage. The trouble he had extending his swing — the resistance he felt when trying to swing at full strength — had cleared. Hitting coach Mark McGwire said Jay looked "1,000 times better than what he was in Pittsburgh."

"We talked about it and this is a great time for him not to even think about his swing," McGwire said. "Just trust his eyes and let it happen. He looked good. He was there early again (Friday). He looked good through it all."

Had Jay not felt good doing it, the Cardinals would have reconsidered their plan to go with a shortened bench. Having proved his ability to hit, Jay said he has to maintain the shoulder's health and improve it.

"I feel I can contribute the way I am," Jay said. "Every day we'll just continue to work on ways to get it better."

Like, for example, staying away from the wall.

"That's the big one," he nodded.


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(stltoday.com)
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Jon Jay's jammed shoulder injury not serious

JonJayCards
CHICAGO -- An MRI on Jon Jay's sprained right shoulder Monday showed no structural damage, confirming what the outfielder and Cardinals had thought all along.

Jay did not play in the Cards' 3-2 loss on Monday and plans to begin working his way back into the lineup Tuesday. He suffered the injury Thursday when he jammed his shoulder into the outfield wall in St. Louis.

Jay -- who underwent the MRI early Monday before meeting the team in Chicago -- said how he feels day to day will determine how quickly he returns. Jay said now that he knows everything is structurally sound, he'll look at the injury as a bruise and "just deal with it."

"[Making sure there was no added damage] was the biggest thing with the MRI, and that's why I was happy with the results," Jay said. "I can't mess it up any more so I can continue to push it, which is what I wanted to hear."

Both Jay and Matheny said there is no timetable for the outfielder's return.

"We'll wait and see what we hear tomorrow," Matheny said. "Just try not to get too far ahead in the expectations."

Jay is hitting .349 with two homers and four RBIs on the year.


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(mlb.com)
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Jon Jay to have shoulder examined in St. Louis

JonJayCards
PITTSBURGH -- Outfielder Jon Jay left the Cardinals on Sunday to return to St. Louis, where he will undergo an MRI as part of a reexamination of his right shoulder. Jay, who is nursing a sprained right shoulder, was experiencing more soreness on Sunday.

"I didn't hear that he was worse today. I didn't hear that he was better today," manager Mike Matheny said, attempting to characterize the setback. "I think it was a situation where they weren't that excited about where he is right now."

Jay had been encouraged by his progress since Thursday, when he jammed his arm into the center-field wall in an attempt to make a catch. Jay came out of that game, and his only appearance since came as a pinch-runner on Saturday.

Jay resumed some light baseball activities on Saturday and was scheduled to take batting practice and test his arm throwing on Sunday morning. Despite a setback in the progress, Matheny didn't rule out Jay rejoining the team on Monday in Chicago. He also did not make the assumption that this means Jay is headed for the disabled list.

"Everybody is still optimistic," Matheny said. "It sounded like they were hoping he'd be a little further along than he was, and to just make sure they didn't miss anything, [we wanted to] get him back home and looked at by our guys again to make sure he is where he should be."

Jay, who has never been on the Major League DL, already had X-rays on his shoulder. Those came back showing no structural damage.

With Jay unavailable on Sunday, the Cardinals were forced to play with a short bench. Matheny did, however, have the benefit of having Skip Schumaker available again. Schumaker passed all the tests he needed to to assure Matheny that his side soreness had subsided. Like Jay, Schumaker had exited a game after running into the outfield wall.

"I felt better today," said Schumaker, who delivered a pinch-hit single in the ninth. "I feel like I'm good enough to play. If I wasn't, I would tell them. I'm not in a spot where I want to jeopardize a really good team, especially with a short bench as it is."


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(mlb.com)
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Jon Jay (shoulder) could be headed for DL

JonJayCards
Cardinals general manager John Mozeliak conceded Thursday that a roster move might be needed now that Jon Jay is sidelined with a sprained right shoulder.
Jay was initially considered day-to-day, but he left the clubhouse Thursday with his arm in a sling and admitted that he was dealing with some pain and soreness. Erik Komatsu took his place in Thursday's game and Carlos Beltran has previously been discussed as an option for center field, but it's possible the Cards could rush Skip Schumaker (oblique) back from his minor league rehab assignment if Jay's condition doesn't improve in the next day or two.


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(rotoworld.com)
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Jon Jay and Daniel Descalso house tour




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Jon Jay homers

JonJayCards
During the 2011 run to World Series Championship, St. Louis Cardinals center fielder Jon Jay had himself quite an interesting season.

After bumping Colby Rasmus out of town, Jay spent most of the 2011 season hitting in the second spot in the Cardinals lineup.  Of the 107 times former manager Tony La Russa wrote Jay's name on the lineup card, Jay hit second in the lineup 72 times and he did so quite well.  Jay posted a .303 average and scored 41 runs in front of former first baseman Albert Pujols, now first baseman Lance Berkman, and left fielder Matt Holliday.

Now it is 2012 and despite his success at the top of the order in 2011, Jay finds himself further down in the lineup.  New manager Mike Matheny has employed an often used La Russa tactic by putting "thunder" in the two hole.  Thunder's name is Carlos Beltran, who's presence has moved Jay down to the seventh spot in the lineup on a regular basis.

Beltran was out of the lineup in the Cardinals 4-3 loss to the Reds on Wednesday afternoon and Jay suddenly found himself back hitting second and responded with his first home run of the season.

Jay has shown he is comfortable in his new home in the lineup though, hitting .304 on the season while getting on base 36 percent of the time while playing a stellar center field. 

While Jay showed up in the two hole on Wednesday, it is more likely that Matheny will continue to use the switch-hitting Beltran in the two hole for most of the season.

From the looks of the early season, that suits Jay just fine as the former Miami Hurricanes star has not missed a beat.   The Cardinals will need him to be an RBI threat at the bottom of the order and so far it looks as though Jay can fill the role.


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(kffl.com)
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Jon Jay receives loudest ovation of opening ceremonies

JonJayCards
MIAMI -- The introductions of the rosters and starting lineups are underway, done to a percussion beat spiced with whistles, and while the Miami Marlins are being escorted to the field by feather-draped dancers and greeted loudly by cheers, the Cardinals were not without a dash of celebrity in their intros.

Jon Jay, a local and a former University of Miami former, received a loud ovation from the crowd when he was announced as the Cardinals' opening day center fielder and No. 7 hitter.


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(stltoday.com)
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Unsung Jon Jay quietly does a stellar job

JonJayCards
JUPITER, Fla. -- Jon Jay's career has been played mostly in the shadows of others. It's a position he has come to know as well as center field, but not a reality that Jay reflects on with disdain.

Long a complementary piece and rare cornerstone, Jay offers nary a complaint when he talks about his rather uncelebrated past.

A standout player in high school, he was not the star on a Columbus (Fla.) High School team that won a state championship his senior year. At the University of Miami, he found himself immediately playing alongside last year's National League Most Valuable Player Award winner, Ryan Braun.

Now, he's sandwiched between Matt Holliday and Carlos Beltran, a pair of outfielders who own a combined 11 All-Star appearances, six Silver Slugger Awards and three Gold Gloves. It's no wonder why Jay continues to glide under the radar, a spot where he admits he feels he still belongs.

"They deserve to be talked about," Jay said. "They've put in their time in this game. They have the All-Star appearances, all the accolades. ... I'm still trying to survive every day. I still have a lot to prove about myself. I have a lot of confidence in myself, but those guys have been doing this a long time in this game. I'm trying to be consistent like them. That's my goal."

Jay has set some lofty standards and picked out the right players to emulate. But he does carry the pressure of needing to start the season strong in order to hold on to a full-time spot in center. Allen Craig's eventual return -- which could come by mid-April -- will invariably crowd the Cardinals' outfield. Holliday won't be moving out and neither will Beltran -- unless he shifts to his right to play center. That would squeeze Jay out of a spot.

Some sort of platoon scenario involving the left-handed-hitting Jay is also possible.

It's all just additional motivation for Jay to prove that the consistency that defined his first two seasons in the Majors was no fluke.

"I feel like I've had good years where I have been helpful to the team," said Jay, who led the club with 157 games played last year. "But by no means do I feel like I have established myself. I still think I can improve, and I can continue to help the team. Those are my goals."

After batting .300 in his rookie season, Jay returned in 2011 and worked his way from bench player to fill-in corner outfielder to everyday center fielder by the end of the year. He hit .302 in the 107 games he started, and gave the Cardinals stability in center after the organization dealt away Colby Rasmus.

Almost silently, Jay has actually been one of the better hitters to emerge recently in the Majors. He may not flaunt the power or sexy stats of some of the others, but Jay has a .298 batting average that ranks third among all qualifying players with fewer than 750 career at-bats.

His .991 fielding percentage leads all Cardinals outfielders since the start of 2010.

"We've seen him do a nice job quarterbacking in the outfield," manager Mike Matheny said. "I have used that term before -- conscientious -- about how he's thinking ahead and doing more than just standing in the same place every time. He's trying to be prepared to get an edge defensively, and that's a great quality to have from a center fielder."

Jay credits Holliday and Beltran for helping him to continue improving those defensive instincts this spring.

"I'm trying to take command out there," Jay said. "There's a lot of communication going on."

On the offensive side, consistency is once again Jay's aim. He noted that it took him longer than others to regain his timing this spring, and that is reflected in Jay's higher-than-desired strikeout total.

But subpar spring results have actually been the norm for Jay. He combined for a .224 average in Grapefruit League play in 2010 and '11. With two spring games remaining, Jay's average this month sits at .250.

Though the Cardinals are seeking a leadoff hitter, Jay will likely begin the year hitting in the bottom third of the order. It sets up to be another instance where Jay gets buried among the bunch. How fitting, since that is what Jay knows best.

"I have always been lucky to play on some good teams at the level that I've been at," Jay said. "Maybe I don't get talked about much, but we have great players on this team. I just have to play my part and be a part of the big picture. That's fine with me."


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(mlb.com)
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Jon Jay's hit in 9th wins for Cards

JonJayCards
Righthander Jake Westbrook continued his spotless spring pitching record today, knocking off six shutout innings as the Cardinals beat the New York Mets, 2-1, in an exhibition game.

Westbrook gave up only three singles, walking none, to a lineup which was minus a few regulars. But for the spring he has worked 12 scoreless innings, permitting just six hits and no runs.

In becoming the first Cardinals starter to work six innings this spring, Westbrook threw 53 strikes out of 74 pitches. His strong effort was followed by perfect relief in the seventh and eighth, respectively, by Mitchell Boggs and Kyle McClellan. 

But, facing Fernando Salas in he ninth, Mets second baseman Jordany Valdespin lofted an opposite-field homer to left to tie the game at 1-1.
Jon Jay then won the game for the Cardinals in the home half with a one-out single to left off Mets lefthander Garrett Olson, who had brought in to face the lefthanded-batting Jay.

Jay's hit scored pinch runner Adron Chambers, who ran for Matt Adams after the latter singled with one out off former Cardinal Miguel Batista. Chambers then went to third on a hit-and-run single by right by Tony Cruz.

The Cardinals did little with New York starter Johan Santana either. They had only three hits and no runs through five innings but finally broke through in the sixth.

Tyler Greene and Carlos Beltran opened with singles and after Santana retired Matt Holliday and David Freese, Lance Berkman singled up the middle for the first run of the game.

The Cardinals, winning their fourth straight, are 10-6-1 for the spring. Lefthander Jaime Garcia will face Washington here on Thursday.


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(stltoday.com)
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Jon Jay is happy flying under the radar

JonJayCards
Jon Jay is used to being overlooked, at least by those outside his clubhouse.

Though the Cardinals made him their second-round selection in the 2006 draft, Jay was never considered his team's best player at the University of Miami.

That status was typically saved for current Milwaukee Brewers left fielder Ryan Braun or Miami Marlins first baseman Gaby Sanchez. Jay played alongside ex-Cardinals reliever and current Cleveland Indians closer Chris Perez, Minnesota Twins third baseman Danny Valencia and Oakland A's second baseman Jemile Weeks.

During Jay's ascent to the parent club he was never regarded as the minor-league system's best outfielder. That distinction belonged to Colby Rasmus until he reached St. Louis in 2009.

"He may seem to some people like kind of a below-the-radar guy but, make no mistake, Jon's a great player," first baseman Lance Berkman said. "We don't win last year without him."

Jay, who turns 27 on Thursday, led the World Series champions in appearances (158) last summer and carries a career .298 average into his third major-league season.

Jay waited until the July 2010 trade of right fielder Ryan Ludwick to the San Diego Padres before receiving an everyday opportunity. Jay's presence last season allowed general manager John Mozeliak sufficient leverage to package Rasmus within a three-team deal that brought pitchers Edwin Jackson, Octavio Dotel and Marc Rzepczynski and outfielder Corey Patterson in return. Jay made 90 starts batting either leadoff or second for a team that led the National League in runs scored.

"Everybody has numbers but that's not what I'm primarily concerned about," Jay said before Sunday's Grapefruit League rainout against the Washington Nationals. "It's important for me to provide the manager options. I'm out there ready to play.

"My mind-set is to win every day. It's been that way in college and in the minor leagues. If the team needs a sacrifice or a hit-and-run, that's my role."

Jay's role has become a focal point since the Cardinals signed free agent outfielder Carlos Beltran to a two-year contract in December. Beltran once played elite center field for the Kansas City Royals, Houston Astros and New York Mets before knee issues led him to a corner outfield position. However, Cardinals manager Mike Matheny may periodically explore returning Beltran to his former position as a way to get power bat Allen Craig playing time on an outfield flank.

On most days, Jay will find himself stationed behind five-time All-Star Matt Holliday and Beltran, a six-time All-Star and three-time Gold Glove winner who opened his career as 1999 AL Rookie of the Year.

"I'm appreciated here. That's all that matters to me," he said. "I think that's been my story since high school. I've been lucky enough to play for a lot of talented teams where I've never been the best guy or a top-three guy. I've always been a guy whose role is to set up the big guys on the team."

"He's as valuable as anybody in here; he really is," Berkman said. "Guys like him and (infielder Daniel) Descalso are baseball players. Their value doesn't begin and end with statistics. The same applies with Craig. It's very unusual to see three young guys like that on the same team."

Jay has spent much of the last week listening to Jim Edmonds' thoughts on playing center field. He is also concentrating on translating his plus speed into more of a base-stealing weapon. (Jay stole a base before a fourth-inning downpour scrubbed Saturday's game.)

"He's got it in him," Matheny said. "You saw that today. He's got intelligence. He's got baseball instincts. He studies the game. He studies pitchers."
"There are certain guys that play a lot faster. He's not a burner like a Michael Bourn but he plays as good a center fielder because he gets great jumps, he positions himself well and he has great hands," Berkman said. "He runs good routes to the ball. At the plate he puts together great at-bats.

"To me, he was one of the unsung heroes of last year's team," Berkman added. "His ability to play center field allowed us to make the trade that got us the pieces we needed."

Jay's career has been predicated on events affecting others. That may again be the case this season given Matheny's use of Beltran at a position he hasn't patrolled since 2009.

"I've never been a player who took anything for granted," Jay said. "I just take it one day at a time. I never know what's going to happen tomorrow. I think things are definitely different this year. But I'm going about things the same way. I know nothing's guaranteed in this game, or in anything."


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(stltoday.com)
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Where does Jon Jay fit into this year’s Cardinals outfield?

JonJayCards
QUESTION: With the addition of Carlos Beltran, and Allen Craig expected to eat up outfield time once his knee is healed, where does Jon Jay fit into this year’s Cardinals team?

DERRICK GOOLD
He’s the starting center fielder until his production doesn’t merit the playing time. At that point, Beltran in center (legs permitting) and Craig in right (health permitting) becomes a more essential option for the Cardinals, and Schumaker and Jay emerge as alternatives, backups or fourth outfielders off the bench. It will be interesting to watch the second base competition unfold and how much it leaves Schumaker to appear in center this spring.

RICK HUMMEL
Jon Jay is the Cardinals’ regular center fielder, until further notice. It isn’t likely that Beltran will play a lot in center inasmuch as he hasn’t played there in a couple of years and Busch Stadium is a big park in the outfield.

JOE STRAUSS
Jay projects as the regular CF but will receive occasional breaks when Skip Schumaker or Carlos Beltran man the position. Jay led the team in games played last season and was considered no worse than average defensively. True, his postseason performance did not mirror his regular season, but Jay's offensive numbers during the regular season (.297/.344/.424) were almost a carbon of his 2011. Beltran, Craig and Lance Berkman will likely be found in right field and at first base with Craig usually seen against LH pitching.

JEFF GORDON
Jay will play a LOT of center field. He played virtually every game last season and will play a lot this season.  The Cards need to keep Beltran’s bat in the lineup, so I would expect Mike Matheny to use him in center field judiciously. Jay is a solid fielder and an established .290 to .300 hitter, so he will stay busy. He may double-switch into games and do some defensive subbing, but he will play a big role. I would not be surprised if he approached 500 plate appearances again.

LARRY BOROWSKY (Founder of Viva El Birdos and editor of “Maple Street Press Cardinals Annual&rdquoWinking
He’s their best defensive CF by far. Combine that with Beltran’s stated reluctance to tax his knees in center, and Jay appears to be in line for 130 to 140 starts. Of course, that assumes he continues to hit at the levels of 2010-11. I think he’ll do that and more. If Jay should wash out, then Skip Schumaker likely gets the bulk of the playing time in CF.


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(stltoday.com)
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Jon Jay finalizes contract

JonJayCards
JUPITER, Fla. • World Series MVP David Freese and starting center fielder Jon Jay were among the players who finalized their contracts for 2012 with the Cardinals this morning, a player and an official confirmed.

Jay and Freese — both of whom are participating in their first workouts today — completed their contracts this morning.

These deals are one-year contracts and its rare for a player to take a significant leap in salary. For players with no experience in the majors, their deals will be for the major-league minimum salary ($480,000).

Players like Freese and Jay will receive slight raises; each made slightly above the major-league minimum in 2011.

Terms of their contracts were not disclosed.

The club has all the power when it comes to negotiating deals for players with fewer than three years of experience. If a contract isn't agreed to before the deadline this spring, the team can renew the player's contract at a price the club sets.

The Cardinals could have all the members of the 40-man roster signed for 2012 within a week.


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(stltoday.com)
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More Photos From the 2012 Hurricane Baseball Fan Fest

Check out our EXCLUSIVE photos from the 2012 UM Baseball Fan Fest which featured a HR Derby won by proCane Minnesota Twin Danny Valencia. Other proCanes like Jemile Weeks, Jon Jay, Chris Perez, Eddy Rodriguez and many more joined the festivities.

WeeksValencia2012
Jemile Weeks, Danny Valencia
JemileWeeksHR22012
Jemile Weeks
ObrienHR2012
Peter O’Brien
TheManiac2012
The Maniac
JemileWeeksHR2012
Jemile Weeks
RonyRodriguezHR2012
Rony Rodriguez
ValenciaHigh52012
Danny Valencia
JemileWeeksHR32012
Jemile Weeks
ValenciaHR2012
Danny Valencia
ValenciaOrbienHR
Danny Valencia, Peter O’Brien


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UBaseball Alumni Game: Jon Jay




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Jon Jay not satisfied with previous success

JonJayCards
In two years in the big leagues, Cardinals outfielder Jon Jay has already won a World Series and played well enough that two outfielders were traded to give him more playing time.

But you won't see the 26-year-old Jay feeling like he has it made anytime soon.

After appearing in a team high 159 games last season and contributing both in the field and at the plate, Jay is motivated for even bigger things in 2012.

"I'm continuing to try to prove myself in this league," Jay said. "It's my third season, which is crazy, but I'm just trying to be consistent out there and help the team win. Nothing changes for me. I'm just trying to get better and get smarter."

Jay's first two big league seasons were eerily similar. He burst out of the gate with a fast start in both, allowing the Cardinals to make deadline deals to help the club.

The Cardinals traded Ryan Ludwick to the San Diego Padres for pitcher Jake Westbrook at the trade deadline in 2010, handing Jay the everyday spot in right field.

Last July, his production allowed the Cardinals to trade Colby Rasmus to the Toronto Blue Jays in a deal that brought back key contributors Edwin Jackson, Octavio Dotel and Marc Rzepczynski. Jay took over the regular spot in center field following the deal.

But both times Jay was handed a regular spot in the lineup following the trades, the Miami native struggled at the plate. Jay was hitting .396 at the time Ludwick was traded in 2010 but hit just .239 over the final two months to finish the year right at .300.

He was hitting .312 when Rasmus was traded on July 27 last year and proceeded to hit .222 in his next 21 games with 17 strikeouts and just three walks. He hit .277 the rest of the way, finishing at .297.

Jay had 24 doubles, 10 home runs, 37 RBI and 56 runs scored for the Cardinals in 2011 and shrugged off a playoff slump to provide a key hit in the tenth inning of Game 6 of the World Series to help fuel their dramatic come-from-behind win.

With six-time All-Star Carlos Beltran added to the outfield mix in the offseason, Jay is out to prove he's worthy of the everyday playing time from the start to finish in 2012.

"I feel like if you look at my whole year, I was pretty consistent – defense, offense, helping the team win," Jay said. "Once you've tasted some success, you want to keep improving. That's the common thing you see from the guys who are great players in this league. They have a great year but they still want to build on it and keep getting better. That's what I want to do, continue to build my resume and continue to show that I can play out there.

"The biggest thing for me is just getting smarter out there. You know the pitchers better and they know you better, so just being able to make adjustments quicker and knowing what is the better formula to react to all that."

Jay was ticketed for another heavy workload in center field until Beltran was signed to help replace some of the offense lost when Albert Pujols signed with the Anaheim Angels.

Beltran will start the season in right while Allen Craig recovers from knee surgery, meaning Jay will get plenty of action in center early in the season. But when Craig returns, a healthy Beltran could cut into some of Jay's time in center.

But the uncertainty doesn't have Jay worried or disappointed. It's kept him humble.

"I'm going to prepare how I always do and be prepared to play every game," Jay said. "You never know what's going to happen. I just want to get myself ready so when I do get a chance to go out there, I can be consistent and help the team.

"I'm going to show up, be prepared and when my name is in the lineup, I'm going to play. I understand how this game works, we're out there to win and that's the bottom line. One of the things with Tony (La Russa) was he mixed and matched the lineups but it was always for a reason – to win. And that's what we did."

New manager Mike Matheny and the Cardinals hope Jay helps them do plenty of winning this season.


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(foxsportsmidwest.com)
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Jon Jay and friends roll strikes for charity

JonJayCards
MIAMI -- Baseball players are known for knocking in runs, but a bunch of them were focused on knocking down pins for charity on Saturday night.

Cardinals outfielder Jon Jay hosted the Jon Jay Celebrity Bowling Challenge at Lucky Strike Lanes in Miami Beach to help raise money for Chapman Partnership, the private sector partner of Miami-Dade County Homeless Trust, commissioned to site, build, and operate two homeless centers in downtown Miami and Homestead.

"My family has always talked about doing something like this," Jay said. "We've always been involved with charity and helping out -- and in St. Louis, I am involved with stuff. But I've never done my own event. So many things have happened that I have been fortunate for in my life, so I felt like now was the perfect time to get everyone together and get this going."

With so many potential causes to choose from, Jay could have had a hard time choosing one to support. But his family's involvement with Chapman Partnership made the choice easy.

"Jon's family has served meals at our center in the evenings for a long time," said Dan Vincent, executive director of Chapman Partnership. "When Jon talked about wanting to give back to the community, we were very privileged to have him choose Chapman to do it. He's been over to tour and he's been hanging out with our kids, even today. We're just privileged to be the benefiting charity of his first event."

Over 200 people came out to help Jay's Celebrity Bowling Challenge raise an estimated $25,000. All proceeds from the event will help Chapman Partnership provide housing, food, health care, dental care, psychiatric care, job training, case management and child care to 756 men, women and children daily in the greater Miami area.

"We feel that Jon has been really blessed," said Jay's father, Justo. "He always put in his work, and now things have worked out in his life that he should be giving back to others. The Chapman Partnership in downtown needs the help and support. There are people who are living in the streets, and we are helping them get off the streets, find jobs and [have] beds to sleep in. It's not just adults, too, because there are children involved in it. I really feel very proud of Jon for this kind of achievement. It's not enough to be a great baseball player and not have a heart for other people and forget about where he could be. We're very proud of Jon for doing this."

The Celebrity Bowling Challenge was Jay's first charity event, and he called on some of his best friends in baseball to help him raise money for the worthy cause.

Joining Jay on the lanes were over 20 big leaguers -- including Padres first baseman Yonder Alonso, Blue Jays catcher J.P. Arencibia, Nationals pitchers Gio Gonzalez and Drew Storen and first baseman Chris Marrero, Cardinals infielder Tyler Greene, outfielder Allen Craig and pitcher Lance Lynn, Phillies outfielder John Mayberry and Orioles prospect Manny Machado. Former Marlins infielder Mike Lowell and Miami Heat forward Chris Bosh were also in attendance on Saturday night.

Gonzalez bowled a 176 to help lead his team to the championship, but the newest Nationals pitcher was just happy to support Jay's event.

"Without hesitation, I told Jon I would be here," Gonzalez said. "The first thing I asked was if I could start a team. When he said 'Yes,' I told him I would donate as much as he wanted. It's always a pleasure to give back to those in your hometown. I always like doing stuff like this. I told Jon that I'll be at the next event, too."

Several players in attendance have known Jay since their days on the youth fields in Miami. Arencibia is one of those players who has a lifelong friendship with Jay, and he knew the support for anything Jay put together would be overwhelming.

"Jon Jay is one of the best, most first-class guys you'll ever meet," Arencibia said. "He's one of my best friends in baseball. He's one of the most humble guys, and one of the hardest workers. Any time that he is going to ask for something, you know it's something good. To be able to get together like this, it shows how much respect people have for Jon Jay, and the respect we all have for each other as baseball players. We all want to help each other give back, and it's great that we're all here for this great cause."

Marlins first baseman Gaby Sanchez was Jay's teammate at the University of Miami, and he did not hesitate to help his friend raise money for those in need.

"Everybody here is happy to support Jay," Sanchez said. "He's a great guy, and he wants to give back to the community. I'd do anything for him. When you come out of UM, you have those lifelong friends. And when they call you, you always go do it. We've always spoken about doing things together, and he's taken the initiative to start this event and pave the way for all of us to come out and help the great cause."

While there was a large collection of big league talent showcasing their bowling skills, Jay said there were several others who were disappointed to learn they would have to miss the event, due to scheduling conflicts.

"There are a lot of other guys who couldn't make it because they had to be somewhere," Jay said. "They were upset that they couldn't make it. But hopefully, this will continue to grow. This is my first one -- and hopefully we can do this for a long time down here.


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(mlb.com)
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Jon Jay's Celebrity Bowling Challenge

proCane EVENT of the WEEK:

Head over to the Jon Jay's Celebrity Bowling Challenge where you will be able to bowl not only with Jon Jay but many former Hurricane Greats, current proCanes and MLB stars! Tickets are only $100 and can be purchased here.

Jon Jay's Celebrity Bowling Challenge
Saturday, January 28, 2012 from 6:00 PM to 9:00 PM (ET)
Miami Beach, FL

“Jon”jay/


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Gaby Sanchez helping UM pal Jon Jay with celebrity bowling tournament

JonJayCards
Marlins first baseman Gaby Sanchez will participate in Jon Jay’s Celebrity Bowling Challenge on Jan. 28 at Lucky Strike Lanes in Miami Beach.
Jay, an outfielder for the St. Louis Cardinals, is good friends with Sanchez. Both are from Miami and both attended the University of Miami.

“Me and Gaby have a little competitive streak in us,” Jay said. “We’re always going at it, so I’m going to try to out-bowl him, for sure.”

Also helping Jay will be Padres 1B Yonder Alonso, Blue Jays C J.P. Arencibia, Nationals P Gio Gonzalez, Cardinals IF Tyler Greene, Royals 1B Eric Hosmer, Nationals 1B Michael Morse, Indians P Chris Perez and Twins 3B Danny Valencia.

Tickets are $100 for a person and $450 for a team. Proceeds will go to the Miami-Dade County Homeless Trust.

Sanchez did some charity work on Wednesday when he appeared at the Ronald McDonald House of Miami.


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(palmbeachpost.com)
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Jon Jay Speaks Out In Defense of Ryan Braun

JonJayCards
Jon Jay spoke out in defense of fellow UM alum Ryan Braun, who plans to accept his National League Most Valuable Player award on Saturday despite a 50-game suspension he received after testing positive for a performance-enhancing substance.

“It’s definitely a tough situation,” Jay said. “I’m a huge Ryan Braun supporter. He’s a guy who helped me out so much in my career. Since I stepped foot at UM we have had a special bond and we’re really good friends.

“It’s unfortunate, the situation, but hopefully he gets it cleared up. I know how hard he works and how much he loves the game. He’s really a big role model for everyone. He’s going to have his appeal process Hopefully, everything works out.”

A spokesman for Braun, a Milwaukee Brewers All Star, reportedly confirmed the positive test at the time, but said “there are highly unusual circumstances surrounding this case which will support Ryan’s complete innocence and demonstrate there was absolutely no intentional violation” of baseball’s drug-testing program…


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(palmbeachpost.com)
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Jon Jay Visits White House

Jon Jay and World Series Champions St. Louis Cardinals visited the White House and President Obama on Tuesday. Jay is pictured below in the first row third from the left.

Jon Jay's photo What an Amazing day at the White House<br />#Blessed
Jon Jay on WhoSay


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