Tampa Bay was hoping to avoid losing one of their starting outfielders, but the club made a decision on Sunday morning. Desmond Jennings has not played since leaving last Saturday's contest and according to Roger Mooney of The Tampa Tribune, the Rays have placed Jennings on the 15-day disabled list with left knee bursitis.
Jennings, 28, posted a .222/.306/.238 batting line in 18 games in 2015. He has proven to be a versatile piece for the Rays and has had success both getting on and stealing bases. Even after he made an early exit last weekend, the Rays were confident Jennings would be available to pinch hit late in games. Jennings was expected to be in the starting lineup last night, however Manager Kevin Cash decided he was not completely healthy. Tampa Bay has been plagued by injuries early, and Jennings becomes the 14th Ray to be placed on the disabled list this season.
While the Rays are hoping Jennings will be completely healthy when he is eligible to be activated from the disabled list, Joey Butler will likely receive the majority of the playing time in his absence. Butler was promoted from Triple-A in the corresponding roster move and spent spring training with Tampa Bay.
Butler, 29, does not have a notable amount of major league experience, although he did see time with the Rangers in 2013 and the Cardinals last season. Butler batted .333 in eight games with Texas but did not post a hit in six plate appearances with St. Louis in 2014.
Although the Rays have other minor league outfield options, such as Mikie Mahtook who has seen time with the club this season, Kevin Cash's familiarity with Butler may have resulted in the promotion. Cash managed Butler when he was the manager of the Rangers' Triple-A affiliate in 2011. Butler was batting .317 in Triple-A before the Rays promoted him.