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."
Matsui first to play 10 seasons in Japan, Majors
ST. PETERSBURG -- Hideki Matsui became the first player in baseball history to play 10 seasons of professional baseball in Japan and 10 seasons in the Major Leagues when he played in Tuesday night's Rays-White Sox game.
Ichiro Suzuki played nine seasons in Japan before heading to the Major Leagues, where he has played for the Mariners for 12 seasons.
Matsui broke a scoreless tie Tuesday night with a two-run homer in his second at-bat in an eventual loss for the Rays, which was the fifth time that a Japanese player has homered in his debut with a Major League team, and the second time Matsui has done it. He also did it in 2010 with the Angels.
The other three to do so are: Kosuke Fukudome (Cubs), Kenji Johjima (Mariners) and Kazuo Matsui (Mets).
Matsui has also homered in three of his four Major League home debuts (Rays, Angels and Yankees).
Rays hit Pierzynski day after his hard slide
ST. PETERSBURG -- A day after he slid hard and spiked Rays second baseman Ben Zobrist, Chicago's A.J. Pierzynski was plunked by a pitch from Tampa Bay's Alex Cobb on Wednesday afternoon.
The throw that hit Pierzynski in the back came in the third inning of the White Sox 4-3 win over the Rays.
"It was a pretty standard 0-0 pitch," Pierzynski said about the incident.
In the fourth, a pitch from White Sox pitcher Jose Quintana went well behind Zobrist, prompting home-plate umpire Mark Wegner to eject Quintana and White Sox manager Robin Ventura for the first time in his managerial career.
"I'd never seen anything like it," Ventura said. "I don't know how to explain it. ... I was shocked."
Rays manager Joe Maddon said "it's pretty obvious" when a pitcher throws behind a player.
"Pierzynski slid awkwardly into second base," Maddon said. "He got hit with a pitch today, and then they threw behind us. There was nothing from me to any of our players today. Nothing."
Quintana had been pitching well on Wednesday, allowing only one run on one hit -- a solo homer by Luke Scott -- while striking out two in 3 2/3 innings. Right-hander Nate Jones came on in relief of Quintana.
Bill Chastain is a reporter for MLB.com. Greg Zeck is an associate reporter for MLB.com This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.