Desmond Jennings' Return Will Add Spark to Tampa Bay Rays Lineup

Jamal Wilburg@JWilburgCorrespondent IJune 5, 2012

ST. PETERSBURG, FL - MAY 6: Outfielder Desmond Jennings #8 of the Tampa Bay Rays walks in the first inning against the Oakland Athletics May 6, 2012 at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Florida. The Rays scored 4 runs on 2 hits in the inning. (Photo by Al Messerschmidt/Getty Images)
Al Messerschmidt/Getty Images

Desmond Jennings is back.

The Tampa Bay Rays reinstated the outfielder today from the 15-day disabled list where he has been since May 14 with a left knee sprain. During his four-game rehab assignment in Single-A Charlotte and Triple-A Durham, Jennings was a combined 3-for-15 (.200) including a double and two runs scored.

Jennings and the Rays were clicking on all cylinders prior to his injury. Jennings scored a run in 15 of his last 17 starts before the injury and team was 14-3 in that span. The team has compiled a 12-13 record in his absence.

The timing couldn't be better for Jennings to return as the AL East leading Rays prepare to face the New York Yankees in the Bronx. His return will give manager Joe Maddon more familiarity and flexibility with the lineup as he will not have to use Hideki Matsui in left field and can return Jennings to the leadoff spot. 

Once third baseman Evan Longoria is able to complete rehab and eventually return to the team it will be a very scary situation for opponents. Due to injuries this season the Rays have only been able to field a lineup including Longoria, B.J. Upton and Jennings together eight times this season. The team was 7-1 in those games.

The team optioned outfielder Rich Thompson back to Durham to make room on the roster for Jennings.


Jamal Wilburg is a Featured Columnist for Bleacher Report.

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