Rays outfielder Desmond Jennings technically made his major league debut during the 2010 season, but Saturday evening felt like his true arrival.
The 24-year-old was promoted from Triple-A Durham late Friday night and got to work immediately in Saturday’s game against the Royals.
Jennings led off the contest with a first-inning triple to deep left-center field, smacked an RBI double in the second inning, drew an intentional walk in the fourth inning, and then scored after drawing another walk in the sixth inning. All in all, the promising young speedster stole one base, scored two runs, drove in one run, and provided a welcome spark at the top of the Tampa Bay lineup.
Kansas City eventually won in extra innings courtesy of an Eric Homser walkoff RBI double.
Jennings is expected to see regular playing time down the stretch and should be a mainstay on highlight reel shows for years to come. He had an .825 career OPS in the minors and 188 steals in 222 attempts.
Jim Salisbury of CSN Philly reports that the Phillies are close to signing free agent reliever Joaquin Benoit. An announcement is expected before the winter meetings end on Thursday.
Benoit, 39, has quietly been among the better relievers in baseball over the past seven years. This past season with the Mariners and Blue Jays, the right-hander put up an aggregate 2.81 ERA with a 52/24 K/BB ratio in 48 innings. That included a 0.38 ERA in 23 2/3 innings after the Jays acquired him from the Mariners.
Benoit suffered a torn calf muscle during a benches-clearing brawl with the Yankees near the end of the regular season. He’s expected to be healthy for spring training.
The Phillies have now added three relievers this offseason with Benoit, Pat Neshek, and David Rollins.
ESPN’s Pedro Gomez provides a previously unreported detail of the new collective bargaining agreement, agreed to by the owners and the players’ union last week. Players’ meal money for road games is being reduced from $105 to $30 per day. Teams are providing pre- and post-game meals in the visitors’ clubhouse to offset some of the decrease in meal money.
Gomez quotes an unnamed player who said, “I doubt many guys know about the money going down, nor would they have agreed to it.” All of the players Gomez contacted said they were unaware of and unhappy about the change.
Clubhouse attendants are certainly unhappy about this change, too. As Gomez notes, the attendants previously provided food for visiting teams which earned them tips from the players.
EDIT: It’s worth clarifying that chefs are required in clubhouses now as part of the new CBA, so it’s not a complete loss for the players.