ST. PETERSBURG -- He hasn't played for the Rays since May 11, but Desmond Jennings is one step closer to returning to the Tampa Bay lineup.
The outfielder is scheduled to make a rehab start for Class A Port Charlotte on Thursday and then at Louisville for Triple-A Durham on Friday after testing his knee in sliding drills at Tropicana Field on Wednesday.
"I just wanted to see if I could slide without really thinking about it," Jennings said. "It feels good, no problems at all."
Jennings has participated in batting practice and fielding drills with and without a knee brace, but he said he will wear one during his rehab assignment because he feels more comfortable with it on.
"I've been pushing it, I've been running hard, doing all my drills," Jennings said. "I need to get in a little bit better state, but I feel I'm about ready."
Since Jennings' injury, Tampa Bay is 9-8. Jennings hit .265 with three home runs, 11 RBIs and eight stolen bases in 31 games this season. He added that he feels comfortable with the timing of his swing and is eager to play again.
"You never want to miss games due to injury; you always want to be out on the field and play," Jennings said. "It's been two or three weeks -- it's the longest two or three weeks I've had. Just going to play somewhere will be a relief for me."