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Jay activated off DL, but not in starting lineup

Matheny sticks with Grichuk, Bourjos in outfield in series opener

ST. LOUIS -- Center fielder Jon Jay returned from a three-day rehab stint with Class A Peoria to be activated from the 15-day disabled list on Friday. He did not, however, jump right back into the Cardinals' lineup.

Instead, manager Mike Matheny stuck with Randal Grichuk (left field) and Peter Bourjos (center field), calling it a "reward" for two players who have contributed much as of late. Bourjos' aggressive slide in Wednesday's ninth inning set off a walk-off win. Grichuk has eight extra-base hits in 10 starts since his own DL stay.

"Going into a big series, we're going with that hot hand right now," said Matheny, whose club is hosting the National League West-leading Dodgers this weekend. "Most of it is coming back to, 'How are they doing right now?' We like what Randal is doing, and we like when Peter has been getting an opportunity."

Video: ARI@STL: Cards get walk-off win on throwing error

Jay will get involved again soon, too, as Matheny intends to keep all five of his outfielders engaged to varying degrees. Jay, who had been nursing left wrist tendinitis, went 0-for-10 with Peoria, but returned encouraged by the strength of his wrist and timing of his swing.

"It's feeling good," Jay said. "I was able to test it out, get a lot of work in. Seeing live pitching was big. I was able to run around the outfield a little bit, which was good. I was happy with how everything went."

Jay has said that weakness with his surgically-repaired wrist led him to change his swing earlier this season. That led to both a bruised left thumb and decrease in production. He hit the DL with a .248/.330/.267 slash line and just two extra-base hits in 101 at-bats.

"Without question, the wrist is a big part of being able to get through the ball, and you could see him pushing off to cut the ball off sometimes," Matheny said. "It seems like his range of motion has really improved with this little bit of rest, so hopefully it's something we can build on."

Worth noting:

• One game after establishing a National League record by reaching base in his 43rd consecutive game to start the season, left fielder Matt Holliday was sidelined with a fever and flu-like symptoms. Matheny said it was questionable whether Holliday would be available off the bench in Friday's game.

• General manager John Mozeliak said that reliever Jordan Walden is "taking positive steps forward" in his rehab work. Walden was placed on the DL a month ago with right biceps inflammation. At the time, the Cardinals expected Walden to need six-to-10 months of recovery time.

• ESPN announced that it has chosen the Cardinals' June 28 home contest against the Cubs as its Sunday Night showcase game. It marks the sixth Sunday Night game to go onto the Cardinals' schedule. First pitch will now be at 7:10 p.m. CT.

Jenifer Langosch is a reporter for Read her blog, By Gosh, It's Langosch, follow her on Twitter @LangoschMLB, like her Facebook page Jenifer Langosch for and listen to her podcast.
Read More: St. Louis Cardinals, Jon Jay, Randal Grichuk, Peter Bourjos