Jay ready for rehab stint with Class A Peoria

Cards target Friday for center fielder's return from DL

Jay ready for rehab stint with Class A Peoria

ST. LOUIS -- Though Jon Jay is eligible to come off the 15-day disabled list Tuesday, the Cardinals will first send the center fielder out on a short Minor League rehab assignment to work on the timing of his swing and ensure that his wrist has been strengthened by time off and exercise.

Jay will begin that rehab assignment with Class A Peoria on Tuesday, general manager John Mozeliak announced Monday before the team's series opener against Arizona. Jay will play two or three games there and, as long as he incurs no setbacks, be activated on Friday. At that time, the Cardinals may consider returning to a five-man bench for the first time in more than a month.

"I'm open to anything on that account," Mozeliak said of the roster construction. "I think for us we'll just evaluate what we have and make a decision then."

For the third time in four days, Jay took on-field batting practice alongside teammates on Monday. He added that he's "progressing every day" and "feeling better" after briefly halting all wrist-related activities. At the time he went on the DL, Jay was also dealing with a bruised left thumb, an issue that came about as a result of altering his swing mechanics to compensate for a weak wrist.

This is the same wrist that Jay had surgically repaired shortly after the 2014 season.

"I knew I was going to have to deal with it during the year, but it got to the point where it was tough to deal with, so we took a step back," Jay said. "Luckily, I was able to do that and get myself back on track. Now, it's all about maintaining and staying steady throughout the season."

How Jay will be reincorporated into the lineup will be next for the Cardinals to determine. In his absence, the Cardinals went fishing for a new leadoff hitter and have found an effective one of late in Kolten Wong. The club has also received sufficient production from center fielders Randal Grichuk and Peter Bourjos in Jay's absence.

Manager Mike Matheny will look to keep all three outfielders involved in some way. Mozeliak surmised that the best way to do so will be to determine playing time based upon matchups and recent success.

Worth noting

• Mozeliak said he expects to have a better feel for what's ahead for lefty Marco Gonzales after he is examined by the St. Louis medical staff on Tuesday. Gonzales has been placed on the Triple-A disabled list for a second time after feeling recurring discomfort around his left pectoral muscle.

• Outfielders Jason Heyward and Matt Holliday returned to the lineup on Monday after missing Sunday's game with minor injury issues.

• Triple-A Memphis entered Monday riding a season-best seven-game winning streak. In Sunday's 5-4 win, starter Zach Petrick allowed four runs (three earned) over seven innings.

Jenifer Langosch is a reporter for MLB.com. Read her blog, By Gosh, It's Langosch, follow her on Twitter @LangoschMLB, like her Facebook page Jenifer Langosch for Cardinals.com and listen to her podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.