Rays release injured OF Jennings

August 26th, 2016

HOUSTON -- The Rays released outfielder on Saturday.

"It was time, best for him, best for us going forward," manager Kevin Cash said before Friday's series opener against the Astros. "Wish him the best with his career going forward. It was just unfortunate it didn't work out. Couldn't quite get him on the field as much as we'd have liked. We had to make a decision."

Jennings, 29, is on the 15-day disabled list retroactive to Aug. 3 with a left knee contusion. This marks the second time he's been shelved this season -- he sustained a left hamstring strain earlier this summer -- and has played just twice since June 30.

In 65 games, Jennings slashed .200/.281/.350 with seven homers, seven doubles, 20 RBIs, 22 runs scored and two stolen bases.

The move points to the Rays heading in another direction with their outfield. Clearly, they want to find out what they have with the outfielders on the roster. In addition, it's likely they'll want to see more of playing the outfield, too. He returned from concussion protocol on Saturday.

"I think it helps us going forward," Cash said. "It opens doors in making decisions now. It probably eliminates one decision that we have to think through in the month of September and guys we want to get more at-bats, and I think they're going to."

Jennings' most injury-prone season was 2015, when he was limited to 28 games due to left knee injuries that required two trips to the DL and later a tooth infection that ended his season. He spent a total of 133 games on the DL.

"I hope he gets on the field and plays because I didn't necessarily see it, but there's a lot of people in the organization that saw a lot of excitement when he first came up," Cash said.

In 2014, Jennings missed the final month of the season due to a bruised left knee, and in '13, he missed 12 games due to a fractured left middle finger. In '12, he missed 21 games with a left knee sprain.

Jennings' Minor League career also was doted with injuries. He missed the start of the 2010 season due to a left wrist sprain. A back injury claimed the first two months of his '08 season at Class A Vero Beach. When he returned, Jennings lasted just 24 games with Vero Beach before his left shoulder required season-ending surgery.

"It is what it is," said Cash, who talked to Jennings on Friday and said the outfielder took the news fine. "Teams are going to have guys that get hurt and struggle coming back from injuries. I mean, I think it was very fair, Desmond, he's had legitimate injuries. The knee had been an issue and then he goes and fouls a ball off of it and he wasn't getting the kind of responses out of it that he needed to get back."

Jennings was selected by the Rays in the 10th round of the 2006 Draft, debuted in September 2010, and spent each of his seven big league seasons with the organization.