Rays OFs avoid serious injury in collision

Tampa Bay Rays outfielders B.J. Upton and Desmond Jennings escaped serious injury after colliding while chasing a fly ball during a spring training game in Port Charlotte, Fla., against the cross-state rival Marlins on Wednesday.

According to a report on ESPN.com, both players were chasing a fly ball by Miami’s Austin Kearns in the bottom of the fourth inning when they collided at full speed and dropped to the ground. Kearns circled the bases for an inside-the-park home run while center fielder Upton and left fielder Jennings both writhed in pain.

The two players were both taken off the field on stretchers after laying on the ground for several minutes while play was stopped.

Medical examinations of both players showed no significant injuries or broken bones other than “general soreness” according to a statement released by the team.

Jennings told reporters after the game that he was fine, adding “I’m good to go tomorrow.”

Jennings added that the scary-looking crash could ultimately turned out much worse.

“That’s something that could end people’s careers,” Jennings said. “We’ve got to do a better job of avoiding that situation. It was a pretty scary situation to be in.”

Jennings even tried to see humor in the incident, saying he couldn’t wait to see a replay eventually.

“I want to see it again,” he said. “I just felt like I saw it happening and just tried to brace at the last minute. I don’t know what happened. I want to see it again.  “It just kind of scared me, more so than it hurt. I feel good.”

As for Upton, he acknowledged he was ‘definitely sore,” but that the malady was “nothing that’s going to affect me in a couple of days.”

“I don’t think it’s anything that will put me out for a while,” Upton said. “We’ll just go day-to-day and see how I feel.”

Although both players called for the ball, it’s unclear if they didn’t hear each other or were closer to each other than one or both anticipated.

“He just hit me in the perfect spot,” Upton said of Jennings. “We both had a chance to get to it. We called it at the same time. But luckily, we saw each other (just before impact), so we were able to brace for the hit. If not, we’d have hit face to face.”

Marlins manager Ozzie Guillen felt for the two opposing players.

“You don’t want anybody to get hurt in a spring training game,” Guillen said. “I was glad when (Rays manager Joe) Maddon told me (they were okay). I was very worried. You don’t want to see people carried off the field.