Get Well Soon, Jon Jay

April 27, 2012; St. Louis, MO, USA; St. Louis Cardinals center fielder Jon Jay (19) connects for an rbi base hit against the Milwaukee Brewers at Busch Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Scott Rovak-US PRESSWIRE

On May 16 the St. Louis Cardinals placed starting center fielder Jon Jay on the disabled list with a right shoulder injury the result of an ill-time leap into the Busch Stadium outfield wall. Initially treated with a cortisone injection after the April 19 injury, the pain of the injury returned as the injection faded. The expectation at the time of Jay being placed on the disabled list, reported Jenifer Langosch of stlcardinals.com, was that he would miss the minimum 15 days.

Jay rested for ten days and then participated in his first workout, hitting off a tee and taking soft toss. The quotes given to Nate Latsch of MLB.com after the workout by Jay and general manager John Mozeliak were optimistic.

"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.

Jay was sent to the club's spring training facility in Jupiter with the hopes of him beginning to rehab for a return to the Cardinals active roster. However, his injury and timetable for return took an ominous turn, making him another member of the "progressing nicely" club. On June 1, Jay was shut down due to continuing problems and a second opinion on his shoulder was sought. Manager Mike Matheny seemed to think the second opinion would provide some reassurance for Jay so that he could "push through" the injury.

"He's still feeling a little something," manager Mike Matheny said. "But with everything that we're seeing, he should be further along. We're going to get one more look at it, and after that, we're probable going to push through"

****

"It's gotten almost worse," Matheny said. It will be nice to get another look at it and see what comes of that. That will give him a little peace of mind, too. Some guys are just hesitant to push through something."

Contrary to Matheny's hopes, it does not appear than any pushing through has taken place in regards to Jay's shoulder injury. St. Louis Post-DIspatch columnist Bernie Miklasz writes that, like fans, "Player and team are mystified."

It's not all doom and gloom. Some positive news, however small, came this weekend. In the St. Louis Post-Dispatch on Saturday, it was reported:

Center fielder Jon Jay could not offer a timetable for his return from a shoulder separation but said he has experienced greater range of motion in recent days.

When Jay went on the disabled list, his seasonal hitting line was an impressive one. Even with a dip in production before his disabling that was attributed to the wearing off of his cortisone shot, Jay was the owner of the following line.

PA

R

H

SB

HR

RBI

BA

OBP

SLG

OPS

wOBA

fWAR

117

18

36

4

2

8

.343

.395

.438

.833

.369

1.2

Yes, we've such a torrid streak from Jay on prior occasions and there isn't much reason to believe that he would keep it up all season long. I've written previously about my worries over Jay's high BABIP and the fact that his offensive value is perhaps overly reliant on hitting for a .300 average. Jay's .370 BABIP this season is no different. While not over-the-top lucky, his impressive 25% line drive rate wasn't likely to continue into September.

Even so, let's assume that Jay posts something close to his career numbers. A .303/.355/.425/.780 (.340 wOBA) would be a welcome level of production in center field. After all, the replacements haven't fared so well.

SHANE ROBINSON

PA

R

H

SB

HR

RBI

BA

OBP

SLG

OPS

wOBA

fWAR

101

11

27

1

2

9

.284

.317

.400

.717

.311

0.6*

ADRON CHAMBERS

PA

R

H

SB

HR

RBI

BA

OBP

SLG

OPS

wOBA

fWAR

33

1

6

0

0

3

.214

.290

.286

.576

.230

-0.1*

*All numbers are updated through play on Sunday except for Fangraphs WAR.

With Skip Schumaker and his .347 wOBA and his abominable defense on the DL along with Jay, these are Matheny's options in center field. It's no wonder he has seemed more open of late to the fairly immobile Carlos Beltran in center.

The path of Jay's shoulder injury is a worrisome one reminiscent of, gulp, Mark Mulder and Scott Rolen. At this point, the Cardinals and their fans can only hope that the reported mystification regarding Jay's shoulder injury will clear up as his range of motion increases. The Cardinals could use him in center field and at the plate.

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