Rays don't expect Desmond Jennings to play again this season

Published September 8 2014

ST. PETERSBURG — The lingering soreness in CF Desmond Jennings' left knee is likely to keep him from playing again this season, manager Joe Maddon said.

"At this point I don't anticipate him coming back unless we really got something on," Maddon said.

Jennings on Sunday missed his 10th game since pulling himself from the lineup before the Aug. 29 game against Boston with soreness in the knee, which he first agitated when struck by a foul ball before the mid July All-Star break.

An MRI exam last weekend showed what the Rays said was only a bruise, but Jennings said Thursday that he continues to have soreness when he tries to run and was frustrated by the situation.

Asked Sunday if there was any progress, Maddon said: "Status quo. Nothing new, nothing better, nothing worse, pretty much the same. Which pretty much is making him a moot situation right now."

More proof? Jennings is not accompanying the team on the upcoming road trip to New York and Toronto.

Jennings, through a team official, said he had no new comment since saying Thursday that he would continue to try to get back on the field.

Maddon said he did not expect Jennings to miss this much time,

"A little bit. I didn't anticipate it to linger this long. So it's a bit surprising," he said. "But I never question any of that. It is what it is, and so you just have to react to it. Fortunately we had David (DeJesus) and Wil (Myers) coming back. And it presents opportunity for other guys."

With Jennings out, rookie Kevin Kiermaier will continue to get most of the playing time in centerfield. Ben Zobrist will get some time when they face tough lefties.

HOMER HAPPY: The Rays' four homers were their most since five June 29. They had hit one in their past eight games, three in 15. … Evan Longoria and James Loney had their first back-to-back homers since June 19, fifth of the season. … DeJesus had the 13th inside-the-park homer in team history, third this season. It was the fourth of DeJesus' career, matching Philadelphia's Jimmy Rollins for most among active players.

ESCOBAR OUT: SS Yunel Escobar was supposed to be in the lineup but called in early to say he was sick — "gastro ill," Maddon said — and was unable to play late in the game as Maddon had hoped.

MOORE BETTER: LHP Matt Moore is eager to get to the Trop today as he'll get to throw — maybe 20 times, from a distance of 45 feet — for the first time since April 22 Tommy John elbow surgery. "Most excited I've been for a game of catch," Moore said. "I'm looking forward to seeing the rotation on the ball coming out of my hand." Moore is seeking a late May/June return to big-league action.

SMYLY GUY: Maddon said he expects to talk to executive VP Andrew Friedman on tonight's flight to New York about whether they will shut down LHP Drew Smyly for the season after a career-most 153 innings or give him one more start. They will decide by Tuesday, when Smyly would throw his bullpen session.

MINOR MATTERS: Durham opens its best-of-five International League championship series Tuesday at Pawtucket (Red Sox). seeking to keep the Governor's Cup it won last year. Unless the Rays need a starting pitcher to replace Smyly, Maddon said he was "pretty sure" they won't make any callups until after the Bulls are done.

MISCELLANY: RHP Jeremy Hellickson, who was in line for his first home win since July 2013, was pleased with his improved command. … The 2015 schedule, featuring an April 6 home opener with Baltimore and home-and-home interleague series with the Braves, Marlins and Nationals, plus a visit by the Mets, will be released today. … The Orioles used 23 players, most ever by Buck Showalter.