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Tuesday, Sep 25, 2018
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Rays Notes: Jennings getting time to recover

— CF Desmond Jennings did not start for the second straight game Saturday night and is not expected to return to the lineup until Tuesday because of a groin injury.

Jennings suffered the injury Monday against the Orioles in Baltimore and played through it until the team returned home Thursday.

Manager Joe Maddon kept Jennings off the Tropicana Field turf Thursday by using him as the designated hitter. Jennings pinch hit in the seventh Friday and was lifted for a pinch-runner after he singled home a run. Maddon said he would use Jennings the same way for the rest of the series with the Yankees.

“(Head athletic trainer Ron Porterfield) doesn't think it's serious,” Maddon said. “The fact we were willing to pinch hit him (Friday) speaks to that, too. I honestly don't believe it's anything horrible. I'm not getting that from Ronnie. Go with him lightly this weekend, give him a day off and see what he looks like Tuesday.”

The Rays are off Monday and open a three-game series Tuesday against the Twins.

Gone but not forgotten

RHP Brad Boxberger was optioned to Triple-A Durham after pitching two scoreless innings in Friday's come-from-behind win against the Yankees. The move was made so the Rays could add a fresh arm to the bullpen. They called up LHP C.J. Riefenhauser.

“The big part of (Friday's) game for me was Boxberger, him coming in and putting some structure to the game,” Maddon said.

The Rays began the comeback with Boxberger on the mound. He replaced LHP Erik Bedard with two outs and two on in the fourth and walked just two batters in the next two innings.

“Boxberger is a major-league pitcher, period,” Maddon said. “Sometimes the rules work against young pitchers and players, but there's going to be a time when it's going to work in his favor, also.”

Welcome to The Show

Riefenhauser received notice late Friday from Durham manager Charlie Montoyo that he was headed to the big leagues for the first time in his career.

“I found out at 12 o'clock (Friday) night,” Riefenhauser said. “At first, I thought he was kind of kidding with me. I didn't know who it really was. It was him and his wife yelling into the phone, 'Congratulations!' I was like, 'Who is this?' After he told me, I was speechless. I had no words.”

With 12 letters in his last name, Riefenhauser ties RHP Jason Isringhausen for the longest last name in team history.

Riefenhauser, a 20th-round pick in 2010, had an impressive climb through the organization.

“Every year you keep hearing his name. You get the reports, Riefenhauser this. I finally got to see him this past spring training and saw what all the talk is about,” Maddon said. “He's good.”

Riefenhauser, who grew up just north of New York City, said he gained confidence he could pitch in the big leagues during his time with the team in spring training.

“There were times early in the year, I was like, 'I think I can pitch in the big leagues,' ” he said. “When they told me I'm coming up and facing the Yankees, that's when I started crying.”


The Rays will use Monday's off day to shuffle the rotation. LHP David Price will stay on schedule and start Tuesday against the Twins. He will be followed by RHP Jake Odorizzi and LHP Erik Bedard. ... RHP Jeremy Hellickson (right elbow surgery) had his throwing program interrupted by soreness in his elbow. He is scheduled to resume throwing today. ... The Rays were outscored 32-7 during their four-game losing streak. They scored all 11 runs in a five-inning span Friday. They had scored 10 runs in their previous 57 innings.

Roger Mooney

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