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For starters, Rays vs. Indians, with Joyce back



Update 5:39 p.m. RF Matt Joyce was excited to be back - and hitting cleanup - saying he felt the time was right after just two rehab games with Class-A Charlotte.


The toughest part was the drive back from Daytona Beach last night, going through a "monsoon." But while Joyce admitted it was frustrating to be out so long - since mid-June - including a setback with a back injury, he's ready for regular action. Manager Joe Maddon said Joyce will get a lot of playing time, especially with several righties stacked up against them, but will still check with Joyce daily to see how he's feeling.

*Maddon lauded INF Will Rhymes for his play, including defensively, saying it was just a "baseball moment" that he had to get optioned to Durham. Maddon pointed out that with Joyce back in right, and Zobrist at second, "close to 100 percent" of Rhymes playing time would be gone. Maddon would rather Rhymes play regularly in Durham and be ready to join the team later in the season.

*Maddon said OF Sam Fuld (right wrist surgery), who has played six rehab games between Class-A Charlotte and Triple-A Durham, is getting closer to a return. Maddon said Fuld is feeling good physically, and the timing is getting better at the plate (though still a bit off).

Update 4:29 p.m. Here's the Rays lineup, with RF Matt Joyce at cleanup.

Rays lineup
Upton cf
Pena 1b
Zobrist 2b
Joyce rf
Keppinger 3b
Scott dh
Jennings lf
Lobaton c
Johnson ss
Moore lhp

Developing: The Rays have lost three of four to begin this 10-game homestand, and will try to bounce back tonight against the Indians.

They'll get a big boost to their struggling offense, with one of their best hitters, OF Matt Joyce, activated from the disabled list. Joyce missed 23 games due to back and oblique strains, with the Rays 5-18 in his absence.

The Rays optioned INF Will Rhymes to Durham to make room, likely because they can just move Ben Zobrist back to second base (with Joyce in right).

LHP Matt Moore is on the mound for the Rays, saying he believes he's built some momentum heading into this second half of the season.

Once again, 3B Evan Longoria (partially torn left hamstring) is doing some early hitting on the field, as is OFs Desmond Jennings and B.J. Upton. Manager Joe Maddon said Longoria will likely travel with the team on its upcoming west coast trip so they can monitor him closely.

Indians Lineup
Choo RF
Cabrera SS
Kipnis 2B
Brantley CF
Lopez 3B
Santana DH
Duncan LF
Kotchman 1B
Marson C

[Last modified: Thursday, August 16, 2012 12:39am]


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