Jon Jay makes the most of his opportunity

DENVER • Rookie Jon Jay doesn't have to look around the Cardinals clubhouse for examples of young players who, despite pitching or playing well, were caught in the vice of a roster move and shipped back to Class AAA Memphis.

He can peer a month into his past.

"It's part of the game," said Jay, who was sent out with a .302 average and a string of successful at-bats as a pinch hitter only to reappear this past weekend. "I'm a young player, and it's happened to other guys in this locker room. It's a humbling game, and you never know what's going to happen. If I start taking it too long-term, that's not good. Just trying to … go with the flow."

Right now, the flow is keeping him in the starting lineup.

From under Colorado's sweep of the Cardinals in a three-game series, Jay emerged as the Cardinals usual starting right fielder until next week's All-Star break. Jay had two doubles Thursday, and he scored one of the Cardinals two runs and drove in the other. The run he scored he invented by pushing for a double on a sharp groundball to center field and then advancing a base each on two groundouts.

On Wednesday, the 25-year-old outfielder had three hits, including a homer, and in eight of his past nine games with the Cardinals, he's 11 for 24 with three homers.

Jay didn't slow down after his sudden demotion to Memphis at the start of June. He hit .300 there and drove in 19 runs in 24 games. In this second tour, the rookie said he feels less 'shy" asking his teammates for information about opposing pitchers and that he has settled on a better pre-game routine.

The results haven't changed.

"Ever since he's been in our uniform, he looks like a player," manager Tony La Russa said. "He's making things happen. If he keeps that up, he's going to earn a lot of playing time.”

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