ST. PETERSBURG — OF Desmond Jennings was set — "100 percent ready," manager Kevin Cash said — to rejoin the Rays' lineup at DH on Saturday night, with plans to play again today.
But as Cash walked the lineup card to home plate, he decided that between the way Jennings looked running in the outfield and what he said in their pregame talk, playing against the Orioles wasn't a good idea and scratched him due to recurring soreness in his left knee.
Team officials were still talking late Saturday, but it seemed likely they would put Jennings on the disabled list, backdating the move to April 26, the day after he last played, and making him eligible to return May 11. OF Mikie Mahtook would seem the likely replacement from Triple-A Durham, though Joey Butler could be among those also in the conversation.
"It was 100 percent my decision to take (Jennings) out,'' Cash said. "I just didn't feel comfortable. I didn't think it was fair to him to go to try to fight through something. We've been patient with it. He's busted it to try to get back. It might've been rushing it a little bit, hopeful of him being back sooner."
Jennings' knee "flared up'' in the April 25 game. The Rays said later in the week he was diagnosed with bursitis and was available to pinch-hit, but they preferred to rest him. He received a cortisone shot in the knee Thursday during a visit with Dr. Koco Eaton and told Cash he would be ready to play Saturday. Jennings, who was not available to the media postgame, missed the final month of last season with soreness in the same knee but said it felt better with offseason rest and did not require surgery.
WELL, THAT HURTS: There was considerable pregame chatter about a bizarre Friday night play involving C Luke Maile in Durham's game at Pawtucket (Red Sox).
Maile was at the plate when Mahtook stole third, and Paw Sox C Humberto Quintero fired a sidearm throw directly into Maile's midsection. (See the video on tampabay.com/blogs/rays).
Maile said by phone Saturday he was okay, albeit a bit sore and sporting "a pretty good-looking" bruise: "I'm lucky he didn't get me in the ribs or go a little lower. It could have been a lot worse."
Maile said he had no history with Quintero, a former big-leaguer who, after arguing that Maile should have moved, sparked a bench-clearing incident later in the game by sliding late into SS Hak-Ju Lee.
Asked if he believed Quintero hit him intentionally, Maile said, "All that I'll say about that is that at this level, guys who've played as long as we have, you're not going to miss by that much. I don't know why it happened. I don't know how it happened."
Cash said, "I have not seen a play like that. I was surprised, just like I'm sure everybody else was."
MEDICAL MATTERS: LHP Jake McGee (elbow surgery) expects to move his rehabilitation assignment to Durham on Tuesday after throwing 22 pitches Friday in his second game for advanced Class A Charlotte, hitting 93-94 mph. McGee is slated for several more rehab appearances and may not rejoin the Rays until late May. … LHP Matt Moore (Tommy John surgery) said he was excited for today's next big step in his rehab, throwing to hitters at the Trop. He is aiming for a mid-June return. … INF Nick Franklin (oblique) is set to start a rehab assignment Monday. … RHP Jose Dominguez, who made four April relief appearances for the Rays, is on the Durham DL due to shoulder soreness.
MISCELLANY: With the 4-0 loss to the Orioles, the Rays were shut out for the AL-most-matching third time and went homerless for the fifth straight game. … The Rays are not among teams interested in acquiring C Jarrod Saltalamacchia, who was designated for assignment by the Marlins. … The Rays today play the 22nd of their first 25 games indoors.