Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Mozeliak Says Jay Is Cards' Center Fielder for 2015; CARDINALS

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Mozeliak Says Jay Is Cards' Center Fielder for 2015; CARDINALS

Article excerpt

Persistence apparently has paid off for Jon Jay. Effectively stripped of his starting center field job last spring after the acquisition of speedy Peter Bourjos from the Los Angeles Angels, Jay gradually worked his way into a share of the center-field role and then finally secured it again by the end of the season.

His defense returned to its 2012 level and the lefthanded hitter batted .303 he had hit .300 or more in two other seasons besides batting .375 against lefthanded pitching this year. Then Jay took off in the postseason, hitting a whopping .483 on 14 for 29.

And, now general manager John Mozeliak says, "Center field (for 2015) right now is Jon Jay's, based on how he played. I think he played a much better center field than he did a year ago.

"Peter Bourjos is someone we have under control and certainly envision him being a part of this club. How we create more playing time for him is something we strategize over this offseason," said Mozeliak at a news conference Monday.

"But, clearly, Jay's performance and how he played the second half frankly is altering how we look at him moving forward."

This decision to stay with Jay will have an impact on the Cardinals' budget. A second-time arbitration-eligible player, Jay made $3.25 million this season and surely will sail past the $5 million mark next year.

Mozeliak said that Jay would undergo arthroscopic surgery Wednesday on his left wrist, apparently injured in July, which would take a six- to eight-week recovery and would not prevent him from being ready for spring training.

After Jay felt discomfort, Mozeliak said Jay cut down on his pregame swings as the season went along. "Needless to say, the results were fabulous," said Mozeliak.

"Hopefully, from a strategic standpoint, he keeps that going and we see that type of offensive production next year."

INJURY UPDATES

Mozeliak said that catcher Yadier Molina, who was out in the postseason with a strained left side and before that for seven weeks with a torn ligament in his right thumb, should be 100 percent by spring training.

Righthanders Adam Wainwright (elbow) and Michael Wacha (stress reaction in his right shoulder) both underwent testing last Friday, and nothing negative was found with either pitcher. …

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