ST. LOUIS -- Cardinals rookie outfielder Jon Jay earned a nice honor on Saturday while he was enjoying his first week as a Major Leaguer.
The 25-year-old outfielder was named Cardinals Minor League Player of the Month for April after his hot start at Triple-A Memphis.
"It's nice just to see my hard work paid off, and I was able to get off to a great start," Jay said Sunday morning before the series finale with the Reds. "That was in April. Now we're in May. Hopefully, I can start doing some things in May and just continue on. It's a great honor. We have so many talented players in our organization. I'm just excited. I'm psyched to be here and be a part of the team. I'm just here to do my part and whatever role that is, I'm ready. I'm learning and adapting every day."
In 17 games at Memphis, Jay hit .347 with a .420 on-base percentage, a .542 slugging percentage, seven stolen bases and 16 runs scored.
The outfielder from the University of Miami was called up to the big leagues for the first time last week. Jay is batting .167 (one hit in six at-bats) with one run scored in four games, which includes one start and three pinch-hitting appearances.
In his first start, on Friday against the Reds, he went 1-for-3, with a ground-rule double for his first Major League hit.
Miles scheduled to see game action this week
ST. LOUIS -- The Cardinals announced on Tuesday that they had signed switch-hitting infielder Aaron Miles, who played for St. Louis for three seasons, to a Minor League contract.
The starting second baseman on the Cardinals' 2006 World Series team, Miles signed a free-agent contract with the Chicago Cubs after the 2008 season. The 33-year-old was traded to the A's in December 2009, then traded to the Reds on Feb. 1 for Willy Taveras and Adam Rosales. Miles was released by the Reds last month.
Miles hit a career-high .317 in 134 games with the Cardinals in 2008. In 2009, with the Cubs, he batted .185 in 157 at-bats over 74 games.
The veteran infielder reported to extended spring training in Florida last week and is scheduled to start playing in games this week, beginning possibly on Monday. From there, the club will determine the next step.
Miles could provide depth for the Major League squad after backup infielder Felipe Lopez was played on the 15-day disabled list last week with a right elbow strain.
Stavinoha gets start as Holliday rests
ST. LOUIS -- The final game of the Cardinals' three-game series with the Reds on Sunday afternoon at Busch Stadium marked the 14th appearance this season for outfielder Nick Stavinoha. But it will be his first start.
"It will be nice," he said before Sunday's game. "Usually, I get geared up for one at-bat. Now, I get to go out and kind of play the game a little bit. When you pinch-hit, you have to see it and hit it, be aggressive. Which I'll still do. My approach will still be more of a pinch-hit type of approach. It will be nice to see some more pitches and get some more swings, things like that, just try to play the mental game a little bit. Those are parts of the game that I enjoy, so it will be fun to do that."
Stavinoha, who turns 28 on Monday, has been effective in the late innings in a pinch-hitting role so far this season. He's hitting .308 (four hits in 13 at-bats) with a .538 slugging percentage, thanks to his game-winning two-run home run in the ninth inning off Brewers closer Trevor Hoffman on April 10.
"I've had some good at-bats, and I've had some not-so-good at-bats," he said. "That's the way that goes. That's the way baseball is, in general, and when you talk about pinch-hitting, it goes the same way even more. You can go up and get a hit on your first pitch or go up and strike out in three. It's a little different deal. I'm not going to say that I'm satisfied with where I've been off the bench, but I feel like I've given myself a chance every time I've gone up there."
The outfielder was one of just five non-pitchers in the Major Leagues who started the season on the Opening Day roster, and are still active, but had not started a game this season. The others are the Braves' Brooks Conrad, the Brewers' Joe Inglett (who also started for the first time Sunday), the D-backs' Augie Ojeda and the Angels' Robb Quinlan.
Cardinals manager Tony La Russa wanted to give left fielder Matt Holliday a rest after he started 23 of the team's first 24 games. Holliday's day off came after outfielder Ryan Ludwick, first baseman Albert Pujols and catcher Yadier Molina have all gotten time off.
"He needs some at-bats every once in a while," La Russa said of Stavinoha. "He's doing a great job off the bench, but he needs some at-bats. Everybody has had a day off: Luddy, Albert, Yadi. Now today is Matt's turn."
Cards' starters take at-bats seriously
ST. LOUIS -- Going into Sunday's game against the Reds, the Cardinals' leading hitter in the batting average department was right-handed pitcher Kyle Lohse.
Lohse had two hits in Saturday's win against the Reds, pushing his season total to four and his batting average to a healthy .364.
"The people on the outside will look at our averages and might think that we don't care, but we do take pride in it," said Lohse, a career .172 hitter before Sunday's game. "We're all pulling for each other on the staff to get hits, but we definitely take pride in having a higher average than the other guys. At the end of the year, [Adam Wainwright] is probably going to be the top guy, but I'm going to definitely ride it out while I'm hitting better than him right now."
Wainwright has a lifetime average of .238, tops among the Cardinals' five starting pitchers. He hit .290 in 2007 and .267 in 2008 but dropped to .180 a year ago, though he did hit two home runs.
Wainwright joked that there hasn't been much competition for top hitting honors among the Cardinals pitchers in recent seasons. But the 6-foot-7 righty doesn't joke about the importance of taking hitting seriously.
"It's very important," he said. "You saw what Kyle Lohse did [Saturday], and what Dan Haren and a couple other guys are doing throughout the league. If you can add a tough at-bat to the other pitcher, at least get his pitch count up, working for four or five pitches each time, you're not just an easy out, and he has to think about pitching you and having guys on base. It adds a different dimension to the game."
Cardinals manager Tony La Russa was asked before Sunday's game about his starting pitchers' abilities with the bats.
Wainwright has two hits and a .143 average and Jaime Garcia has one hit in eight at-bats. Chris Carpenter earned his first hit on Sunday. Brad Penny has yet to record his first hit this year.
"I think Adam is a threat," La Russa said. "Carp has come a long way. Brad's got a big swing. I'm going to try to talk to him about George Brett more than Reggie Jackson. He has to tone that down a bit. Jaime actually has a nice stroke. They work on it."
Nate Latsch is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.