For starters, Rays at Orioles
Update 6:12 p.m Manager Joe Maddon said they wanted to see INF Elliot Johnson get through batting practice today and infielding drills, but will likely make a decision Sunday whether he's ready to be activated from the DL.
It appears that's likely to happen soon, meaning the Rays will have another tough decision on who leaves to make room. It could be INF Felipe Lopez, whom Maddon likes to have as a switch-hitter off the bench, but they'd risk losing him going through waivers. The same would go for RF Justin Ruggiano, who has been hitting the ball very well since getting called up, with the Rays liking what he's doing (he's making his fifth straight start tonight).
Though Ruggiano is starting against a righthander tonight, Maddon points out he's not a typical platoon outfielder; historically, he's hit better against righties (.389 this season, vs. 111 against lefties), though he hit well against lefties in the minors this season.
*OF Matt Joyce said his sore left shoulder feels better and is ready to go. He said he won't use the shoulder as an excuse the past few weeks for him not doing as well at the plate. He acknowledged that opposing pitchers are making adjustments, approaching him differently (more offspeed, etc), and it's his turn to adjust.
Update 4:12 p.m. As expected, RF Matt Joyce returned to the Rays lineup for tonight's game, and will bat third, in front of 3B Evan Longoria.
Justin Ruggiano, who had another two hits Friday, will get the nod in leftfield against RHP Jeremy Guthrie.
*INF Elliot Johnson (left knee sprain), back from a rehab stint with Triple-A Durham, said he feels ready to return, whenever the Rays want to activate him. Johnson said the knee feels good, and the brace he wears doesn't really effect him at the plate, or defensively, just running the bases.
Johnson played 5 1/2 innings at short Friday for Durham, and said he's going to go through batting practice today before the Rays make a decision.
Developing: The Rays, coming off a streak-snapping 7-0 loss to Baltimore Friday night, will try to bounce back today at Camden Yards with ace LHP David Price on the mound.
Price is coming off a strong performance his last time out, allowing just one run over seven innings in Anaheim, and Tampa Bay could use another outing like that.
RF Matt Joyce, who was doing some early work this afternoon with hitting coach Derek Shelton, is expected to be back in the lineup after getting scratched last night due to post-injection soreness in his left shoulder. Manager Joe Maddon said Joyce was feeling better and was ready to pinch-hit last night, if the situation arose.
INF Elliot Johnson is back with the Rays, having finished a rehab assignment with Triple-A Durham while on the DL with a left knee sprain. But there still has been no official word yet if he's been activated, and who (Felipe Lopez?) would have to leave to make room.