WASHINGTON -- The opportunity to find a day for center fielder Jon Jay to work on his swing outside of a game situation presented itself on Tuesday when the Nationals started left-hander Ross Detwiler -- and manager Mike Matheny took it.
As he did when the Cardinals last faced a lefty starter on Saturday, Matheny chose to start right-handed-hitting Shane Robinson over Jay in center field. The move is partially driven by Matheny's desire to keep Robinson -- who was the team's hottest hitter in Spring Training -- from getting stale on the bench. But it's also just as much dictated by the need to help Jay get right.
"There's no question right now that he's searching for a few things on the offensive side," Matheny said of Jay. "We'll give him a little time to do that where he's not having to still produce. "
Could that portend the adoption of a strict platoon situation, one in which Jay will start against right-handers and Robinson versus lefties? Matheny wouldn't go so far as to endorse such an alignment.
"Right now, we know Jon Jay is our center fielder," Matheny said. "And he's going to be a big part of what we've got moving forward. We need to get him right. While somebody is trying to get right, it's nice to have another player who can step in. "
With an 0-for-4 night on Monday, Jay's batting average dipped to .197. His on-base percentage sits at .238. Through the team's first 19 games last year, Jay was hitting. 349. He held a .400 batting average at the end of April 2012.
Adams will rest, hopes to avoid DL trip
WASHINGTON -- Though Matt Adams is unlikely to play during the team's series in Washington, the Cardinals do not expect they'll need to place the first baseman on the disabled list while he is dealing with right side tightness.
A day after Adams first felt discomfort in his right oblique, he was cleared to throw and field ground balls on Tuesday. He has not resumed swinging since stopping his pregame work in the batting cage on Monday, which means it's unlikely that Adams is available even for a pinch-hit appearance.
"The tightness is still there, but it's definitely improved since [Monday]," Adams said. "I'm just following orders. Whenever I'm told to swing, I'll try to get down there and take some swings."
Adams has a reference point for this type of injury, and he said he's encouraged by the fact that the discomfort is not nearly as severe as it was when he missed 19 Double-A games in 2011 with an oblique strain.
With an off-day scheduled for Thursday, the Cardinals would be able to give Adams at least four full days to rest by holding him out of the rest of this series.
"He's going to continue to do some of the rehab, and we'll still move cautiously forward with him," manager Mike Matheny said. "We want to be on the front end of it. I think [the training staff is] pretty happy with where he is and being able to get to it before it was something of greater concern."
Kozma not bothered by boos in Washington
WASHINGTON -- There was some irony on Monday night when, with two out and two on in the sixth, the Nationals opted to intentionally walk Pete Kozma in order to bring up the pitcher's spot in the Cardinals' lineup. It was, of course, exactly what Washington didn't do in Game 5 of the National League Division Series last October.
Last year's decision by manager Davey Johnson continues to be scrutinized by Nationals fans, who wonder if the Game 5 outcome would have been different had Kozma not been pitched to in the ninth inning of Game 5. It was Kozma's two-run single in that spot that became the difference in the Cardinals' 9-7 win.
As Kozma jogged down to first base upon being walked Monday, first-base coach Chris Maloney greeted him with a message: "I think they remember you from last year."
Indeed, everyone in Washington seems to remember. Kozma was the subject of a front-page story in the Washington Post on Monday, and he was booed heartily during pregame introductions and before each of his at-bats in the series opener.
No one else in the Cardinals' lineup drew such a reaction upon being introduced.
"I've never been booed anywhere I've played," said Kozma, who drove in five runs during that best-of-five NLDS. "It was definitely a new experience. It was, I wouldn't say good, but it was a little bit of fuel. I didn't know it would be that loud. I was surprised by it."
While Kozma is drawing the ire of Nationals fans for what he did last postseason, his success against Washington's pitching staff extends to the regular season, too. Through Monday's game, Kozma had nine hits, six RBIs and five runs scored in 19 regular-season at-bats against the Nationals.
"Getting booed at home shouldn't be a goal of yours, but being booed on the road isn't necessarily that bad of a thing," manager Mike Matheny said. "It means you've done something for your club. I think that's a great compliment to him.
"At first it caught us off-guard, like, 'What did he do to anybody?' Then it was like, 'Oh yeah. That.'"
• Right-hander Michael Wacha improved to 3-0 for Triple-A Memphis with a seven-inning win on Tuesday. Wacha allowed three hits and one run to Iowa (Cubs), while walking two and striking out six. Wacha retired 19 of the first 22 batters he faced before allowing the seventh-inning run.
• Cardinals outfielder Carlos Beltran informed Matheny that his lower back felt even better on Tuesday than it had on Monday, when he still felt good enough to play. It was on Sunday that Beltran alerted the Cardinals' training staff to some back tightness.
• Tuesday marked the end of a nine-game stretch in which the Cardinals played all night games. What would have been a day game last Sunday was moved to primetime after being chosen for an ESPN national broadcast.
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.