GOODYEAR, Ariz. -- Desmond Jennings was held out of camp Friday for the second straight day due to right hip flexor stiffness, which has bothered him since earlier this week. The outfielder will return to the lineup this weekend when the Reds play split-squad matchups Saturday and Sunday, manager Bryan
GOODYEAR, Ariz. -- Desmond Jennings was held out of camp Friday for the second straight day due to right hip flexor stiffness, which has bothered him since earlier this week. The outfielder will return to the lineup this weekend when the Reds play split-squad matchups Saturday and Sunday, manager Bryan Price said.
"It's just tight. It isn't really anything," Jennings said. "I could play today, I'm just not scheduled. But I'll be in there tomorrow. It's nothing serious."
Jennings, who signed a Minor League contract just before the start of Spring Training, is battling for a bench role, primarily with Arismendy Alcantara, Ryan Raburn and Patrick Kivlehan. If Jennings makes the club, he will earn $1.5 million, with the chance to make an addition $1 million in incentives. Jennings is hitting .206 this spring in 34 at-bats, with nine strikeouts and four walks.
"I thought he kind of got off to a slow start, and then he kind of started to turn it on," Price said. "He's putting the ball in play with some authority and playing a nice outfield -- not just center, but he's played on both corners as well and has done a nice job. He's a very instinctive baserunner. I think he certainly has a lot to offer as a guy who could really complement our ballclub, if he ends up making the team."
Because of leg injuries, Jennings was limited to 93 games over the past two seasons with the Rays, where he spent the first seven years of his Major League career. In 65 games last year, he slashed .200/.281/.350 in 225 plate appearances, with 15 extra-base hits -- including seven homers -- and 20 RBIs. He was released on Aug. 26.
"As of late, I feel better," Jennings said. "Just getting more comfortable, more lately than I did at the beginning."
• The Reds announced on Friday they've optioned outfielder Jesse Winker to Triple-A Louisville. Winker, the club's No.3 prospect per MLBPipeline.com, will still make the trip with the club to Las Vegas this weekend for a pair of split-squad games against the Cubs.
Winker, a first-round pick by the Reds in 2012, has yet to crack the Majors. This spring, he's slashing .273/.333/.409 with one homer, one triple, one double, five RBIs and seven runs scored in 44 at-bats.
• Brandon Finnegan, who along with Scott Feldman is the only pitcher to solidify a spot in the Opening Day rotation, pitched a Minor League game on Thursday, tossing 95 pitches over 5 2/3 innings. He gave up four runs on seven hits and three walks, while striking out six.
Daniel Kramer is a reporter for MLB.com based in Denver. Follow him on Twitter at @DKramer_.