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  1. Rays

Rays' Desmond Jennings says injured knee feels 100 percent

Rays outfielder Desmond Jennings lunges to catch a ball hit by the Athletics’ John Jaso in August. [Associated Press]
Rays outfielder Desmond Jennings lunges to catch a ball hit by the Athletics’ John Jaso in August. [Associated Press]
Published Feb. 3, 2015

ST. PETERSBURG — The lingering left knee soreness that kept Desmond Jennings out of the Rays lineup over the final month of season is long gone, and the outfielder said he will head into spring training at full speed.

"One hundred percent, and ready to play some baseball," Jennings said Monday at the Trop, where he has been working out. "I feel good."

Jennings, 28, said he needed only rest to get over the soreness, which he said started when he was struck by a foul ball before the mid-July All-Star break and finally forced him out of the lineup for good on Aug. 29.

Jennings posted the lowest numbers of his three full seasons in 2014, hitting .244 with 10 homers, 36 RBIs and 15 steals (with only three attempts in 33 games after the All-Star break). He has yet to play more than 139 games in a season.

His goal for 2015? "Injury free, that's what I'm going for.''

CAMP COUNT: Left-hander Robert Zarate signed a minor-league contract, and previously reported deals with veteran reliever Ronald Belisario and infeidler Alexi Casilla were confirmed, all with spring training invites. Also invited were minor-league pitchers Andrew Bellatti, Dylan Floro and Brandon Gomes; infielders Vince Belnome and Daniel Robertson; outfielders Taylor Motter and Boog Powell; and catcher Luke Maile, for a total of 62.

RADIO TIME: The Countdown to Opening Day radio show, hosted by Andy Freed and Dave Wills, debuts Thursday, from 7-8 p.m. on 620-AM, with Kevin Cash and Alex Cobb as the guests.

WINTER WRAPUP: New Rays catcher Rene Rivera is playing for Puerto Rico champion Santurce in this week's Caribbean Series; the team is managed by former Ray Eduardo Perez.

SUSPENSION: Free agent infielder Wilson Betemit, who spent 2014 with Triple-A Durham, was suspended 50 games after testing positive for an amphetamine.

Around the majors

OBITUARY: Former Tigers first baseman Dave Bergman, a key member of the 1984 World Series champions, died after a battle with bile duct cancer. He was 61.

D'BACKS: Veteran catcher Gerald Laird agreed to a minor-league contract.

GIANTS: First baseman Brandon Belt agreed to a $3.6 million, one-year deal to avoid arbitration.

REDS: Left-hander Paul Maholm agreed to a minor-league deal.

Information from Times wires was used in this report.

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