Roger Mooney covers the Tampa Bay Rays for The Tampa Tribune, TBO.com and News Channel 8. He has covered the Rays since their first season in 1998, including 11 years for the Bradenton Herald. Roger has also covered Florida, South Florida and Florida State football, the Bucs and the Lightning.
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Notes: Jennings’ health uncertain
Posted May 6, 2012 by Joey Johnston
Updated May 6, 2012 at 08:25 PM
ST. PETERSBURG – Rays LF Desmond Jennings left Sunday’s game against the Oakland Athletics after the second inning due to soreness in his left knee.
Manager Joe Maddon said Jennings was being evaluated and didn’t know whether the player would be available for Tuesday night’s game in New York against the Yankees. Maddon said he believed Jennings was hurt during a first-inning slide, when he scored the game’s first run on Jeff Keppinger’s sacrifice fly.
Jennings is batting .270 with three home runs, 11 RBIs and eight stolen bases in 29 games.
Maddon said if Jennings can’t play, he likely would station Matt Joyce in left and Ben Zobrist in right.
“Hopefully, Desmond isn’t banged up too bad,’’ Joyce said.
Joyce’s 3-hit afternoon
Joyce, who was batting just .174 (4-for-23) against left-handed pitching this season, collected three singles against Oakland’s lefties. Maddon was particularly pleased with Joyce’s eighth-inning at-bat against Brian Fuentes, which produced an opposite-field hit.
It was only the second time in Joyce’s major-league career that he had a three-hit game against left-handed pitching.
“I was excited to get the at-bats against lefties,’’ said Joyce, who is batting .292. “I take advantage of every opportunity I get. I’ve never really had a problem before (hitting lefties). It’s not something I’m going to go crazy over. It’s more of a comfortability factor.’’
S-Rod’s late highlight
The game was out of hand in the ninth, but SS Sean Rodriguez made a highlight reel play to rob Oakland’s Brandon Inge of a single. Rodriguez left his feet, gloved the ball on one bounce, popped up and delivered a quick one-hopper that 1B Carlos Pena speared for the out.
“Throw the glove at it, get up and get rid of it, that’s all you can do,’’ Rodriguez said. “And make sure to keep the throw low.’’
CF B.J. Upton (.333) homered and walked three times. He had walked only once in his previous 13 games (and 51 plate appearances) this season. … Oakland was 5-for-7 with runners in scoring position against LHP Matt Moore. Coming in, Moore had allowed only four hits with runners in scoring position (4-for-20) and Oakland was batting a league low .189 (38-for-201) in that situation. … LHP Cesar Ramos pitched an inning of scoreless relief. He was called up from Triple-A Durham (RHP Brandon Gomes was sent down) and arrived Sunday morning. Ramos learned of the call-up Saturday night while watching the Floyd Mayweather fight with his Durham teammates. Ramos made 59 relief appearances for the Rays last season. … Recent acquisition Hideki Matsui will see his first action in Wednesday’s extended spring training game at 1 p.m. in Port Charlotte. Matsui will DH. Once Matsui is in shape, Maddon said the organization will develop a plan based on its need. … Oakland LF Jonny Gomes is now 8-for-19 with four extra-base hits and four RBIs in six games against the Rays, his former team. … Oakland has won 11 of its last 16 games against the Rays. … Oakland’s bullpen didn’t allow a run (15 2/3 innings, four hits allowed) in the three-game series. … Oakland scored more than seven runs for the first time since last Sept. 10 at Texas, ending a franchise-long streak of 45 straight games with six runs or fewer. … The Rays get a partial off-day at home before leaving this afternoon for New York and beginning an eight-game road trip that also hits Baltimore and Toronto. The next home game is Wednesday, May 16 against Boston.