Maddon gives Jennings pep talk about his play

Maddon gives Jennings pep talk about his play

Maddon gives Jennings pep talk about his play

ST. PETERSBURG -- Manager Joe Maddon had a pregame conversation with Desmond Jennings on Wednesday to talk about the center fielder's defense in Tuesday's 2-0 loss to the Red Sox.

Mike Napoli led off the fifth inning Tuesday night with a drive off David Price, who had retired the first 12 batters he faced, to the center-field wall. Jennings could not make the catch and Napoli ended the perfect game bid with a double.

Jennings had experienced two dropped balls in the outfield over the past couple of weeks prior to Tuesday night's game, and Napoli's ball was a play that he normally makes.

A dejected Jennings, who is a Gold Glove-type center fielder, told reporters after the game: "I don't know what it is actually. It's a bad time to be playing bad."

Maddon said he had a "nice conversation with Desmond, who is pretty much in the listening mode all the time" and "listens well," noting that he just brought a couple of things to Jennings' attention.

"One, that he's really, really good," Maddon said. "Number two, that he's going to be a great player in this league. And don't ever worry about making mistakes here, don't ever. I'm never worried about anybody making a mistake here."

Maddon stressed to Jennings that he could "impact this game here for us, possibly like nobody else in our locker room can" based on his abilities.

"Just a reaffirmation of what you're all about and understand that we all get our confidence dinged once in a while, we all do," Maddon said. "Sometimes you just need somebody to remind you of what you're good at and how you absolutely are. So hopefully that will help a little bit, because I do believe in him a lot."

Bill Chastain is a reporter for MLB.com. Sam Strong is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.