ST. PETERSBURG -- Rays outfielder Desmond Jennings did not dare go near his locker for nearly 20 minutes prior to Thursday's game against the Mariners.
A 20-foot python named Asia -- another of manager Joe Maddon's unconventional clubhouse visitors -- was in his way.
"We needed a little motivation in the clubhouse," Maddon said. "I thought it fit in perfectly with what we're trying to do around here. We needed to loosen things up, and what better way to do that than with a 20-foot python?"
The snake came courtesy of nearby theme park Busch Gardens, which started taking care of the snake when its previous owners were expecting a child.
Some Rays were more adventurous, as Maddon, Fernando Rodney, Joel Peralta, Yunel Escobar and Luke Scott held the snake and posed for a photo.
"That thing is solid, solid muscle, man," Scott said. "We have to play a baseball game in three hours, but it's good to have distractions and variety."
Sam Strong is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.Less