Rays Notes: Jennings Injury Update, Rays Tied for Baseball’s Best Record

By Robbie Knopf

Good news for the Rays all-around on their off-day on Monday. Following the Texas Rangers’ 13-4 drubbing of the Baltimore Orioles on Monday night, the Rangers, Orioles, and the Rays are all tied for the best record in baseball at 19-10. That’s always nice. Hopefully the Rays will be able to get back on the winning track after losing 2 of 3 versus the A’s and solidify their standing as one of the top teams in baseball.

Desmond Jennings exited the Rays’ game on Sunday with an apparent knee injury and now we have some clarity as to what is going on.

Jennings is traveling with the team to New York and could miss just a game or two. The loss of Jennings for even a couple games will certainly hurt, but the Rays have a versatile roster and they will be able to accommodate Jennings’ absence by shifting Ben Zobrist to right field, Matt Joyce to left field, Elliot Johnson to third base, and Will Rhymes to second base. The Rays are already dealing with Evan Longoria‘s absence and they really need their team to stay healthy moving forward. For a couple of days this won’t be a problem. But Jennings better be ready to play soon. Luckily, the indications are that he will be back before long.

In a roster move prior to Sunday’s game, the Rays sent down right-hander Brandon Gomes and brought up lefty Cesar Ramos. Gomes posted a 7.71 ERA in 5 relief appearances for the Rays after missing the beginning of the year following a back injury. He posted a 2.92 ERA (3.90 FIP) for the Rays in 40 relief appearances in 2011. He tossed 2 scoreless innings on Saturday night, allowing 2 walks and a hit-by-pitch but escaping trouble. He has been throwing pretty well, but the Rays really needed a fresh arm and Ramos provides that. Ramos posted a 3.92 ERA and 4.14 FIP in 59 relief appearances for the Rays in 2011. He started the year well at Tripe-A Durham, posting a 1.69 ERA and a 3.75 to 1 strikeout to walk ratio in 12 relief appearances, although he did allow 1.7 home runs per 9 innings, leading to a 4.51 FIP. Ramos (who we’ll discuss later today) is a decent lefty reliever, holding lefties to a .220 batting average and .590 OPS against him for his major league career. Ramos can go multiple innings, although he is markedly better against lefties than righties (who have posted a .324 BA and .370 OPS against him in the majors). Joe Maddon will try to get him in for lower-leverage situations.

And finally, Luke Scott has said that he’s almost ready to start playing the outfield, which would increase the Rays roster versatility significantly. Scott is coming off of right shoulder surgery that has limited him to DH this season, although he has said that he could play first base- but there’s no way the Rays can take Carlos Pena out of the lineup or take his defense off the field. Expect Scott to get a game in as an outfielder over the next couple of weeks.