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Rejuvenated Jennings returns to Rays

BALTIMORE -- Desmond Jennings (fractured left middle finger) was activated off the 15-day disabled list on Monday after playing five innings in a rehab game with Class A Charlotte on Sunday. In a corresponding move, the Rays optioned right-hander Brandon Gomes to Triple-A Durham.

Jennings went 1-for-3 with a single, a stolen base and a run scored on Sunday.

"He had a nice day yesterday," manager Joe Maddon said. "I spoke to him Saturday before he went and played, and he was very upbeat. I could tell by his face that ... everything would work out well, and it did. And it's really nice to have him back."

Prior to his stint on the DL, Jennings started 102 of 110 games, all in center field. The Rays went 5-7 over his 12-game absence.

"He was doing a great job [in the leadoff spot]," Maddon said. "His speed on the bases, his baserunning abilities, his defense, all that stuff is great to have."

Jennings, who arrived at the team hotel at approximately 1 p.m. ET on Monday, reported that "everything felt good" and that he was ready to go.

"We haven't been playing bad as a team, and lately we've been playing a lot better," Jennings said. "Hopefully, I can come back with some energy and get some things going."

One nice offshoot from Jennings' time on the DL is the rejuvenation of his legs, which are usually tired at this point of the season.

"They feel better," he said. "I wish they could feel like this the rest of the time."

Gomes came off the 60-day DL (strained right lat) on Saturday, when Luke Scott went on the 15-day DL with spasms in his lower back. Gomes pitched in the eighth inning on Saturday and allowed a homer to Adam Lind, the first batter he faced in the Major Leagues since May 7.

"I thought [Gomes] threw the ball really well the other day," Maddon said. "I said, 'Don't worry about that 0-2 home run to Lind, you just hung a split. That's going to happen.'

"But I thought his velocity was good. I thought his delivery was good. I thought his stuff was real good. I thought his extended stay rehab-wise was good for him, throwing-wise. I thought he got sharper."

Gomes will likely rejoin the team when rosters are expanded in September.

"I think he still knows he's sharpening the edge right now, and by the time he gets back, he'll be able to contribute," Maddon said.

Gomes understood the situation when he joined the team on Saturday.

"I figured I'd just be here to help out the 'pen for a few days," Gomes said. "I'm very appreciative and grateful for the opportunity, and I'm just glad I'm pitching again. Hopefully, I'll be back up here soon and can help the team any way necessary."

Bill Chastain is a reporter for
Read More: Tampa Bay Rays, Desmond Jennings, Brandon Gomes