Sunday, April 22, 2018
Tampa Bay Rays

Tampa Bay Rays' Desmond Jennings not showing much improvement in sprained knee

BALTIMORE — LF Desmond Jennings remained out of the lineup for a fifth straight game due to lingering soreness in his sprained left knee, and his status is getting increasingly uncertain.

Manager Joe Maddon acknowledged that the team expected Jennings to be feeling better by now, which was why they did not put him on the 15-day disabled list after an MRI exam Monday revealed the injury.

"He's still sore," Maddon said. "It's pretty much status quo. … Same thing, pinch-hitting possibly."

Jennings had been having daily improvement but said the last few days "there's nothing either way.'' He has had issues moving laterally, as well as adjusting to a brace.

"We really thought it wasn't going to be a normal 15-day situation, so that's why we refrained from the DL," Maddon said. "We've got to stay on top of it because we are not seeing great progress. We're not seeing regress or progress. We're still seeing pretty much the same feeling on a day-to-day basis. We were expecting a little bit more progress by now."

If they were to DL Jennings now, he would be out until May 27. Given all their injuries, they don't have any obvious replacements. Most likely might be nonroster minor-league veteran Jesus Feliciano, who is hitting .300 at Durham.

MATSUI ON THE MOVE: OF/DH Hideki Matsui will be in Toronto on Monday when the Rays play the Blue Jays.

But …

The Rays say he'll be there just to get his visa, then on Tuesday head to Triple-A Durham, where he'll start playing after going 8-for-18 in four extended spring training games.

"I've heard all good reports about him and how he's doing. It sounds great," Maddon said. "There's been no time frame attached, there's been no specifics attached to this whole moment, except to go play, get ready and if there's a need and everything meshes, that we'd be able to utilize him."

Maddon said he doesn't see Matsui needing a specific number of at-bats with Durham as much as time to get the right feel.

"To me it's not even about playing in Triple-A games as much as that he says he's ready," Maddon said. "A guy like that I would totally trust if he said, 'Listen, I'm ready, I feel good, I'm seeing the ball well and so forth, my legs feel good.' That to me is most important, even more than just getting several hits."

As for Matsui being in Toronto on Monday? "That has nothing to do with it," Maddon said. "I think that is purely coincidence. But it is — who knows …"

DAY OF REST: 1B Carlos Peña said he'd never ask for a day off, even going as bad as he has been, hitting .083 (3-for-36) in 11 May games. But when Maddon told him he'd be off for the first time this season, Peña said he "welcomed" the chance for the mental break as much as anything.

"I don't feel like I'm at my best, for sure," said Peña, who pinch-hit in the ninth and lined out. "I don't feel like I'm at my worst, either. It's a lot more fun when you rake, though."

Maddon said he thought the time was right: "I think it's good for him right now to clear his head out a little bit,''

MISCELLANY: The five errors were committed by five players, another team first, and the seven combined errors were the most in a Rays game. … They had made three errors in an inning six times before. … INF Jeff Keppinger struck out looking twice in a game for the first time in his career. … INF Sean Rodriguez extended his hitting streak to 10 games. … Chris Gimenez has committed three of the seven catcher interferences in the majors. … RHP James Shields starts today, having made some small adjustments to realign his delivery since his last outing. … C Jose Lobaton (shoulder soreness) was 0-for-2 with a walk in his first rehab game at Charlotte.. INF Reid Brignac is hitting .155 at Durham.

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