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Tampa Bay Rays outfielder Matt Joyce gives the Rays a scare — and then a spark

Matt Joyce, second from the right, eventually gets up after fouling a pitch off his right knee and homers against John Lackey.

DIRK SHADD | Times

Matt Joyce, second from the right, eventually gets up after fouling a pitch off his right knee and homers against John Lackey.

ST. PETERSBURG — RF Matt Joyce gave the Rays a scare and then a spark in a two-pitch sequence in the fifth inning of Saturday's 9-5 loss.

Joyce fell to the ground after fouling a ball off his right kneecap on a 3-and-2 pitch from Red Sox RHP John Lackey. He stayed down in pain for a minute or so, which brought out manager Joe Maddon and head athletic trainer Ron Porterfield.

"It definitely hurt," Joyce said. "I just tried to tough it out."

Joyce shook it off and stretched before ripping Lackey's next delivery into the rightfield seats for his career-high 13th homer of the season.

"I'm pretty glad that happened; not going to lie," Joyce said, smiling. "I figured he was going to try a cutter or something inside again, and fortunately, he left it enough over the plate for me to hit it well."

Joyce admitted his knee tightened up a little while running on a groundout in the ninth. But he said X-rays were taken, and he is fine. Maddon said Joyce should feel good about his day, his first three-hit game since May 27, when his average was .377.

"It's all about confidence," Maddon said. "A day like today is definitely going to help bolster his confidence, and we just need him to get back up on the high end of it. And when he does, you're going to start seeing him hit like that on a consistent basis."

PITCHING IN: RHP Alex Cobb will be recalled to pitch Monday's game against the Yankees, taking the spot of injured RHP Wade Davis (right forearm strain).

Part of the reason the decision took so long is Cobb got hit in the head by a ball last week during batting practice with Triple-A Durham, and the Rays wanted to make sure he was okay. Durham LHP Alex Torres was pulled after just two innings Friday, making him available just in case.

The Rays will have to make room for Cobb by dropping a pitcher with the candidates for demotion to Triple A including RHP Brandon Gomes and LHP Cesar Ramos. LHP Jake McGee, who was called up Friday, seems to be in their plans for now.

RHP Jeremy Hellickson will start Tuesday.

RARE DAY: It was a unique day for 1B Casey Kotchman, batting third for the first time this season and picking up just his second triple of the year. The normally smooth-fielding Kotchman also recorded his first error since Aug. 21, 2010, against New York, ending a run of 102 games without one.

The miscue occurred in the sixth, when Kotchman had trouble handling a Josh Reddick grounder then didn't flip it to RHP James Shields at first in time.

"That's why they're errors. They're just dumb," Kotchman said. "I had a couple chances. I could have fielded it clean, and I could have tossed it. And I didn't do either one."

MEDICAL MATTERS: Davis threw a bullpen session Friday and said all went well with another bullpen planned for Monday. Maddon said if Davis stays on schedule, he won't have to make a rehab start before rejoining the rotation.

LINING UP: C Jose Lobaton, who came off the bench the past two games after getting called up Friday, is expected to start today, his first big-league start since 2009 with the Padres.

"I'm excited for that," Lobaton said. "I'm happy, and I'm just trying to do my best here and show these guys I can play every day."

MISCELLANY: DH Johnny Damon and McGee will sign autographs along the rightfield wall near the dugout from 6:15 to 6:45 p.m. today. Because of the night game, kids won't be able to run the bases postgame. … Durham OF Desmond Jennings, who missed 12 games with a fractured right index finger, returned as DH, going 3-for-4 with two doubles, two RBIs and two runs scored. … The seven homers for Boston in the past two games are the most one team has hit against the Rays in back-to-back games at Tropicana Field since Oakland's seven on Aug. 20-21, 2004.

Tampa Bay Rays outfielder Matt Joyce gives the Rays a scare — and then a spark

07/16/11 [Last modified: Monday, November 7, 2011 5:51pm]
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