Make us your home page

Get the quickest, smartest news, analysis and photos from the Bucs game emailed to you shortly after the final whistle.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Tampa Bay Rays drop struggling Desmond Jennings from first to seventh in lineup

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — The good news, at least, is that LF Desmond Jennings said his previously sprained left knee isn't the problem, in fact feeling good enough that he has shed the brace he'd worn since his June 5 return.

But Jennings has been struggling, hitting .177 in his first 20 games back, so much so that manager Joe Maddon on Tuesday dropped him from his usual leadoff spot to seventh.

"He's just been off of his game," Maddon said. "I wanted to take a little pressure off of him. We did the same thing, remember, for one game in the playoffs (last year) and then he came back really well. … Just go out there and play. He's trying so hard, he can't try any harder than he is. And he still can be very productive for us from the seven hole. That's all it is — give him a different look and just see if he can get back to his normal self."

Jennings, in his first full season in the majors, said the best solution is to hit his way out of it, that sitting out won't accomplish anything. He does acknowledge that he is becoming impatient and swinging earlier in the count than usual.

"There's nothing wrong, I'm just not hitting,'' he said. "I do know I feel like I've been missing pitches I should hit. I'm struggling right now, so I'm trying to not get behind as much and I'm going up there and swinging early. … I feel like I've been getting pitched pretty good, too."

MORE STRUGGLES: With DH Luke Scott set to return as soon as Thursday, Hideki Matsui's playing time is likely to be cut dramatically. He hasn't made much a case for himself, hitting .132 (5-for-38) over his past 10 games and .164 overall.

But Maddon remains confident: "I'm not worried about him. He's going to hit his stride. He just all of a sudden is going to just turn it out and he's going to get really hot."

IMPRESSIVE ARCH: Rookie RHP Chris Archer made a good first impression in his two starts. "I think more than anything he proved to himself that he can pitch in the big leagues,'' Maddon said. "He did a great job.''

MEDICAL MATTERS: RHP Jeremy Hellickson (shoulder fatigue) felt good playing catch in the follow-up to his 60-pitch Monday bullpen session, and said he is set to return to the rotation, targeting Saturday. Maddon said that's not official yet as there is also an option to start Alex Cobb on Saturday on his normal day and push Hellickson to Sunday.

Scott (back stiffness) went 1-for-5 for Triple-A Durham in his second rehab game, with a decision forthcoming if he will play again for the Bulls tonight. Either way, he could rejoin the Rays as soon as Thursday.

RHP Kyle Farnsworth (right elbow) finally got on the mound by going to Durham after being rained out two straight days in Florida with Class A Charlotte. He started and worked one inning for the Bulls on Tuesday, striking out two and allowing a double. He is to start again tonight for Durham and could be activated Saturday.

Maddon said there was "zero" news on 3B Evan Longoria, who has been idled since a June 18 setback in his recovery from a partially torn left hamstring.

MISCELLANY: RF Ben Zobrist made a dazzling running and diving catch. … RHP Taylor Guerrieri, the 2011 top draft pick, had a second solid start for short-season A Hudson Valley on Monday, allowing one run and five hits over five innings, striking out six. … An error charged to 1B Carlos Peña in the June 19 game at Washington was changed to 3B Will Rhymes after a review. … Second-round pick SS Spencer Edwards, who signed for a reported $556,900, will join the Gulf Coast League team in Port Charlotte. … Bucs QB Josh Freeman was a guest of the Rays; he was there Monday, too.

Tampa Bay Rays drop struggling Desmond Jennings from first to seventh in lineup 06/26/12 [Last modified: Wednesday, June 27, 2012 12:36am]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Road to Atlanta: Tell us how you really feel, Jimbo


    Topped out

    TUSCALOOSA, AL - OCTOBER 21:  Rashaan Evans #32 of the Alabama Crimson Tide tackles Jarrett Guarantano #2 of the Tennessee Volunteers at Bryant-Denny Stadium on October 21, 2017 in Tuscaloosa, Alabama.  (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images) 775042495
  2. Journal: USF gets support on the road


    NEW ORLEANS — Perhaps it was the chance to witness the first USF-Tulane game ever, or an opportunity to frolic in the French Quarter for a weekend. Or both.

    USF running back D'Ernest Johnson (2) stiff-arms Tulane cornerback Parry Nickerson (17) on a run during the second half of an NCAA college football game in New Orleans, La., Saturday, Oct. 21, 2017. (AP Photo/Derick E. Hingle) LADH111
  3. Joey Knight's takeaways from USF-Tulane


    1. Saturday's triumph will do little to fortify USF's strength of schedule, but its strength-of-character quotient might have increased. On the road facing an eclectic offense, the Bulls built a huge lead, then made critical plays in the waning moments after some defensive lapses. In short, they survived. Isn't …

    South Florida defensive end Greg Reaves (41) reacts after a defensive stop against Tulane during the first half of an NCAA college football game in New Orleans, La., Saturday, Oct. 21, 2017. (AP Photo/Derick E. Hingle) LADH107
  4. No. 16 USF hangs on at Tulane, off to first 7-0 start


    NEW ORLEANS — After half a season of mismatches, USF found itself in a grudge match Saturday night.

    USF quarterback Quinton Flowers (9) runs for a touchdown against Tulane during the first half of an NCAA college football game in New Orleans, La., Saturday, Oct. 21, 2017. (AP Photo/Derick E. Hingle) LADH103
  5. Lightning journal: Tighter defense fuels hot start

    Lightning Strikes

    TAMPA — See what happens when you keep the crease clean, limit the traffic in front of G Andrei Vasilevskiy and limit Grade A scoring chances?

    Yanni Gourde, right, gets a late first-period goal that follows a big save by Andrei Vasilevskiy.