Jon Jay nearly ready for game action, says April 5th is the goal

FORT MYERS, Fla. (Baseball STL) -- Anyone who's watched the Cardinals for the last week and a half knows full well there's one everyday player who is yet to appear. That would be the center fielder, Jon Jay. The 30-year old had offseason wrist surgery to correct an injury that plagued him for a decent part of the 2014 season.

You wouldn't know it by his .483 postseason batting average but it was there nonetheless.

The Cardinals and Jay have been very slow to push the center fielder back into game duty so far this spring. He's worked a lot in the cage, he's taken at-bats in live pitching practice against the starters. He's done almost everything there is to do.

Except play in a Grapefruit League game, that is.

"The goal is to be ready April 5th so we're on a schedule and we're just trying to be smart about it," Jay said. "We'll see what happens. You never know when you get your timing back but it's hopefully sooner than later."

A big influence on Jay thus far has been newly acquired right fielder Jason Heyward. The two have spent a lot of time together and appear to be creating a bond. After all, Jay did lose his almost all of his good friends to trades and releases the last couple years. David Freese is an Angel, Daniel Descalso is a Rockie and Allen Craig is a Red Sox.  

So having Heyward around help from a personal as well as professional standpoint.

"We all know (Jason's) reputation. He's a great baseball player and a great dude so it's been great to have him here," Jay said. "We've welcomed him with open arms and it's like he's always been here. It's amazing to see how poised he is for his age (25). He was a young big leaguer. He came into this thing at 20 years old so the way he handles himself is impressive for a younger guy. 

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