ST. LOUIS — Opening Day center fielder Jon Jay has returned to the Cardinals’ roster and says he’s ready to go after missing nearly three weeks with a wrist injury.
Jay spent the past three nights with Single A Peoria, where he went 0 for 10 with a walk and RBI in a brief rehab assignment. He hit a few balls hard and says he’s feeling much better about his swing than at any other time this season, when he battled issues stemming from offseason wrist surgery.
"I just got into some bad habits," Jay said. "That was the bottom line and I was able to clean some of that stuff up, so I’m just looking forward to being back here and then contributing here."
Matheny didn’t put Jay in Friday’s lineup, largely because the other Cardinals outfielders have been playing so well as of late. Randal Grichuk raised his average to .308 with two more hits Wednesday night, and center fielder Peter Bourjos is hitting .272.
It could be challenging to get enough at-bats for all five outfielders, and Matheny wouldn’t rule out the possibility of Jay playing occasionally at first base with Matt Adams out for possibly the rest of the season. Jay said he’s open to the idea, and he even played the position some in Triple A Memphis and frequently fields groundballs there.
The Cardinals are hoping Jay’s wrist will regain some of the strength that made him a .303 hitter a year ago with 16 doubles. Matheny said even last season Jay spent some time in the cage working through some wrist issues, and he continues working with hitting coach John Mabry.
"We’ll take the strength that he’s been able to build up and the range of motion and hopefully find that routine and the amount of workload he needs to get his swing into a good position," Matheny said.
Adams undergoes successful surgery on complete tear
General manager John Mozeliak said first baseman Adams will miss four months after surgery revealed a complete tear in his right quadriceps.
Orthopedic surgeon David King operated Friday morning and Mozeliak said they’re hopeful Adams will make a full recovery. It’s still possible the Cardinals could get him back in late September or in time for the playoffs, but Mozeliak said it’s too early to tell.
In the meantime, they’ll put their faith in Mark Reynolds at first base, with Pete Kozma, Tony Cruz and Yadier Molina all capable of playing there on a limited basis. Reynolds enters Friday night’s game against Los Angeles batting .253 with three home runs in 99 at-bats.
"For now, the message that I want to continue to give is we brought Mark Reynolds here for a reason and just in case something happened and we needed someone to step in," Matheny said.
Mozeliak acknowledged the Cardinals’ depth will take a blow, though he said it looks a bit stronger than it may have looked early in the season thanks to improved play from Grichuk and Bourjos. St. Louis also has some other possible options in Triple A, including Xavier Scruggs, Dan Johnson and Stephen Piscotty.
Holliday out sick
Matt Holliday won’t get a chance to extend his National League record 43-game on-base streak Friday night.
Matheny said the left fielder came down with "flu-like" symptoms and might not even be at the stadium, depending on the advice of team doctors. Grichuk will play in left, with Bourjos set to make another start in center field.