ARLINGTON, Texas — Among 206 champagne bottles being popped, 20 cases of beer being dumped and cigars being lit, two of the older guys in the Rays clubhouse were having the most fun after Monday's tiebreaking win that put the Rays in the wild-card game.
RHP Jamey Wright, for the first time in his 18 seasons, and OF David DeJesus, for the first time in his 11, are in playoffs.
"Unbelievable," Wright said. "It's a beautiful thing. I can't even put it into words. To walk off the field and see my family, to see the tears in my dad's eyes, what a feeling.''
DeJesus, acquired in an August trade, was similarly thrilled.
"It's unbelievable,'' DeJesus said. "To be able to be a part of this, coming over late in the season and being welcomed with open arms, that's the special part. These guys didn't know me. To welcome me, and to let me be a part of this, it's a special feeling.''
JENNINGS RETURNS: Tired of watching after sidelined a week with a strained left hamstring, CF Desmond Jennings decided he was ready to return to the Rays lineup Monday and convinced team officials in an afternoon workout he could handle it.
"It's the last game of the year — could be, could not be — but if something happens you've got all offseason for it to fully heal back up," Jennings said. "I don't want to miss this game. You play the whole season, and to come down to the last week and you miss the last week of the season and it (stinks). I went out and did some stuff (Monday) and feel fine."
Jennings insisted he was 100 percent, and he showed that on the first pitch of the game, singling to left and — unwisely — trying to stretch it into a double.
MYERS AWARD: OF Wil Myers is considered a leading candidate, if not the favorite, for the American League rookie of the year award. Monday, he was recognized for his strong finish to the season, named the AL rookie of the month for September.
"It was pretty cool," Myers said. "The biggest thing is just being able to help the team down the stretch, being able to have some big at-bats up there.'' Myers hit .317 with 13 doubles, four homers, 14 RBIs and 18 runs in his first 27 September games. 1B James Loney was named the AL co-player of the week, along with Texas OF Alex Rios, after hitting .435 (10-for-23) with five doubles, one homer, five RBIs and five runs.
CRAIN TRAIN: Time ran out on RHP Jesse Crain pitching at all for the Rays this season when he had a shoulder setback playing catch Sept. 23, and the project was officially scrapped when he was put on the 60-day DL to open a 40-man roster spot for OF Kevin Kiermaier. Crain was acquired July 29 from the White Sox for players to be named or cash considerations, and Rays executive VP Andrew Friedman said there still will be "some form of compensation" to complete the deal after the season.
"It's unfortunate and it's frustrating," Crain said. "We worked as hard as we could to get back and it just wasn't meant to be. I'm confident that I'll be back strong soon, just not soon enough to help."
Crain, a free agent after the season, said he is confident the injury is not serious and won't require any major procedure.
FAMILIAR FACE: RHP Jeff Niemann visited the clubhouse pregame and said recovery from his April shoulder surgery is ahead of schedule and he expects to be back next season. "Nothing too sexy, just following the program," he said.
MISCELLANY: Longoria moved within one homer of Carlos Peña's franchise-record 163 and his career high of 33. … RHP Alex Cobb went though his normal Monday workout assuming he would be pitching Wednesday. … Maddon didn't offer much opinion on DH Nelson Cruz rejoining the Texas lineup after being reinstated from his 50-game PED suspension: "According to the rules, he's eligible today. I have nothing to say."