Indians, Nationals lead hunt for Rays outfielder B.J. Upton

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The Rays promoted outfield prospect Desmond Jennings from Triple-A Durham late Friday night and are expected to give him regular starts in the outfield through the end of the 2011 season.

There was speculation when news of Jennings’ callup first surfaced that a trade was already in the works involving B.J. Upton.

Upton remained in a Rays uniform Saturday, but that could change at some point next week.

Ken Rosenthal said on the FOX Saturday Baseball broadcast that the 26-year-old will almost certainly be traded at this year’s July 31 deadline and has already drawn interest from the Indians, who are looking to maintain their lead in the American League Central. The Nationals have also expressed interest in Upton as a longer-term project.

Upton has hit just .232/.312/.400 in 389 plate appearances this season, but he still has great speed and good power potential. Interested teams will hope that he peaks after being given a change of scenery.