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Jay looks forward to center-field competition

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ST. LOUIS -- Jon Jay is well aware of the new competition he'll face in center field this season, though he has not let it affect his approach heading into Spring Training.

Jay spoke to Cardinals manager Mike Matheny after the November acquisition of Peter Bourjos and let the skipper know that he understood the organization's desire to add depth at the position. Since then, Jay has prepared for a position battle, one that he'll enter an underdog, despite being the team's starting center fielder since the organization traded Colby Rasmus in July 2011.

"Being in this organization, they're going to do whatever it takes to win," Jay said. "That's just the nature of this organization. That's what they're going to do. As a player, that's what you want. You want a team that if there is something that they feel they can address, you want that done ... because you want to win. To me, it's the same competition. I'm just going out there and just continuing to prove myself in the Major Leagues."

Though Jay defended the preparation and effort he put in last season, his 2013 results were nonetheless disappointing. Following a season in which he hit .305, Jay posted a .276/.351/.370 slash line in 157 games and dropped to the bottom-third of the lineup.

His production was inconsistent, his defense sometimes shaky.

"It's one of those things where I obviously struggled at the beginning of the season and [in] the playoffs," Jay said. "I had some bright moments to the season. I'm going to look at the positives. The positives were the second half. I was back to my normal career numbers. I did what I know I'm capable of doing."

The Cardinals have not promised all the playing time in center field to Bourjos, so Jay can play his way back into the lineup with an uptick in results. The difference this year is merely that nothing will be guaranteed.

"I'm going to come in and be ready to compete," Jay said. "It's one of those things we're going to do everything it takes to win. That's one of the things this organization does. I'm looking forward to showing up to Spring Training and just going out there and competing."

Jenifer Langosch is a reporter for MLB.com. Read her blog, By Gosh, It's Langosch, and follow her on Twitter @LangoschMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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