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Video: Joyce could rejoin Rays in a couple days

Manager Joe Maddon has said one reason the offense has struggled is the fact the Rays are missing what he labeled their two best hitters, 3B Evan Longoria (partially torn left hamstring) and OF Matt Joyce (left oblique strain).

But it looks like Joyce could be rejoining the team in Cleveland in a couple days, as he’s going to play a two-game rehab assignment with Triple-A Durham starting tonight. He said he’ll play nine innings in the outfield tonight and re-evaluate from there.

“I feel great,” Joyce said. “I’m ready to go.” Joyce, who has missed 14 games, said he’s a little “surprised” it’s taken so long, considering his discussions with Yankees RHP David Robertson and Tigers CF Austin Jackson, who each have had a similar injury. Joyce said the initial plan by head athletic trainer Ron Porterfield was for him to take the extra days during the All-Star break to rest and return after. But Joyce felt significant improvement three days ago, and when he had no problems swinging, he said he wanted to get back as soon as possible.

“If there’s no issues,’ Joyce says, ‘There’s no point in waiting. I want to get back to help our team win.”

Joyce, who is hitting .279 with 11 homers and 34 RBI, would certainly give a boost to the Rays lineup. “It’s always frustrating, especially when the team is struggling and you always want to be out there and try to help the team win,” Joyce said. “But it’s a long season, we’ve got a long way to go.”

[Last modified: Thursday, August 2, 2012 12:39am]

    

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