ST. PETERSBURG — The Rays finally made the decision to put OF Desmond Jennings on the disabled list, confident the issue in his left knee is no worse than bursitis but unsure exactly when he will return.
Though hopeful Jennings will be back May 11 — the DL move was backdated to April 26, the day after Jennings' last game — manager Kevin Cash said Sunday there is no timetable for his return. OF Joey Butler was called up from Triple-A Durham to take his place.
"We figured it was probably time to get Des off his feet officially, not going back and forth with trying to be ready to play," Cash said. "Let him have a full blow."
Jennings missed the last month of last season with soreness in that knee, which would seem to be cause for concern, but Cash said the Rays are "comfortable" the problem is the result of bursitis.
Jennings said the knee got better with rest and treatment during the offseason, and having already had a cortisone shot and an MRI exam that didn't show any reason for concern last week, he will follow a similar plan. "Just treat it until it gets better and go from there," he said.
Jennings was supposed to return Saturday against the Orioles but was scratched just before the game. "It's hurting. It's been hurting. I thought I could go out and DH and play, but …" he said.
BUTLER DID IT: Butler, 29, was in spring training with the Rays and had brief big-league time with the Rangers in 2013 and the Cardinals in 2014. He was playing well at Durham, hitting .317 with two homers and 15 RBIs, and was chosen over Mikie Mahtook, who has been up twice. Cash said he expects to play Butler, who was added to fill the open spot on the 40-man roster, "a lot" over the next week at DH and leftfield. Butler, who finished last season in Japan, said he welcomed the opportunity, going 1-for-3 as the DH in Sunday's 4-2 loss to the Orioles. "It feels good," he said. "I feel like I've gained a little more experience than I've had before. I'm excited to see how things play out."
MORE MOORE: LHP Matt Moore was halfway through his 26-pitch batting practice session when he told pitching coach Jim Hickey, "This is a new intensity right here." After months of throwing just to a catcher, Moore was excited and pleased with his performance in facing hitters for the first time since April 2014 Tommy John elbow-ligament surgery. "It felt really good to be back out there," he said.
Moore clocked a solid 89-92 mph on his fastball, mixed in changeups and curveballs, and seemed to have good command and control while facing teammates Tim Beckham, Nick Elmore and Nick Franklin. "Just being able to be around the zone with all the pitches was nice," Moore said. "I was very happy with the way things wound up."
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MORE MEDICAL: Franklin (oblique) will start a rehabilitation assignment Tuesday for Durham. … LHP Jake McGee (elbow surgery) will make his third rehab appearance Tuesday for Durham. … RHP Alex Cobb (forearm strain) will go back to throwing on flat ground this week to work on breaking balls, Cash said.
GUEST ROOM: O's manager Buck Showalter again thanked the Rays and "the city of Tampa" for their hospitality in hosting the series, which was moved from Baltimore due to civil unrest. With $15 general admission seating (drawing 9,945, 12,789 and 16,652 to Tropicana Field) and a team-neutral presentation, the scene was pretty good. "The atmosphere here quite frankly was about as good as I've seen it on both sides," Showalter said. "I have to be careful here, but it was a little different than anything I've experienced here before. … It's like a high school football game where it's split down the middle on each side of the stadium."
MISCELLANY: 2B Logan Forsythe said there was nothing he could do to stop his momentum on a headfirst slide that carried him past the bag Sunday, negating what would have been a triple. … Cash fell to 0-for-10 on replay challenges when a safe call at second base was confirmed.