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La Russa: Jay will stay

Cardinals manager Tony La Russa said on his radio show this morning that he wants to keep Jon Jay around even after Ryan Ludwick returns from the disabled list.

That's good to hear since I never really understood why he was demoted from his first trip to the majors so the Redbirds could make room for both Randy Winn and Aaron Miles on the active roster.

Jay, a speedy guy who can play all three outfield positions, is hitting .385 and is in the middle of a 10-game hitting streak. He's also hit three homers in 65 at bats, which is more than Randy Winn and Aaron Miles will hit, combined, for the rest of the season.

I've always liked Jay's potential. He's hit at every stop in the minors and offers an element of speed that the Cardinals otherwise don't have.

Even if the Birds don't see him in their future, Jay's hot streak at the very least has upped his potential trade value. A couple of months ago, he was toiling relatively anonymously at Class AAA Memphis. Today, he's batting fifth in the middle of the Cardinals' lineup behind Albert Pujols and Matt Holliday...

Of course, what he has shown the Cardinals so far might make Jay too valuable to the Redbirds' future. If the team can sign Albert Pujols to a contract extension after the season, it's very possible it won't be able to afford to keep right fielder Ryan Ludwick at the price he could command in his last go at arbitration.