Make us your home page
Instagram

Get the quickest, smartest news, analysis and photos from the Bucs game emailed to you shortly after the final whistle.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Tampa Bay Rays outfielder Matt Joyce pegs return at two weeks

ST. PETERSBURG — While the return date of 3B Evan Longoria remains unclear, OF Matt Joyce is "pretty optimistic" he will be back in the Rays lineup within two weeks.

Joyce, out since mid June, said he feels good, has been hitting and running, and will participate in full workouts with the team over the next few days with plans to start a rehab assignment sometime next week.

Joyce was first sidelined with a mild oblique strain. Then during a July 4 rehab appearance with Triple-A Durham, he sustained "a separate kind of injury" that he described as "a little strain" of his lower back, acknowledging now he was trying to rush back.

"Right now I feel great," he said. "I've had a bunch of days off and a chance to let everything heal and rest."

Manager Joe Maddon said the two-week window was a "reasonable" time frame if Joyce has no additional setbacks.

TOP PICK CLOSE: The Rays and top draft pick Richie Shaffer were considered close to a deal as of Thursday night and expected to finalize terms in advance of this afternoon's signing deadline.

Shaffer, taken 25th overall, is a power-hitting third baseman from Clemson. The "value" for his draft slot is $1,725,000. With Shaffer, the Rays will have signed their top 13 picks and 36 of 40 overall.

MEDICAL MATTERS: OF Sam Fuld is likely to beat both Joyce and Longoria back. Fuld, recovering from spring right wrist surgery, has played in four rehab games for Class A Charlotte, going 1-for-10. … RHP Jeff Niemann, out since May with a broken leg, is "coming along well," Maddon said, but likely looking at an August return. … C Robinson Chirinos, who sustained a concussion in spring training, may end up being out for the season.

FUNDAMENTAL CHANGE: In an effort to improve overall play, Maddon has added extra individual and small-group work sessions to the pregame routine for the 10-day homestand that starts tonight, focusing on subjects such as bunting, situational hitting and defense.

"Nothing dramatic, just routine-based," Maddon said. "It's just the way it's going to be set up."

Maddon also addressed the group at Thursday's nonmandatory workout, suggesting they stop focusing on when their injured teammates are coming back, "to not worry about what we're missing. Let's go with what we've got and make this work because I believe we can."

SHOW AND TELL: Twenty of the 25 active players showed up for the nonmandatory workout. Missing were pitchers Joel Peralta, Kyle Farnsworth, James Shields (who joined Longoria at the ESPYs in Los Angeles), and All-Stars David Price and Fernando Rodney. Joyce and Niemann were also there.

MISCELLANY: RHP Jeremy Hellickson, who starts tonight, said he is aiming to be more aggressive and pitch more to contact in the second half of the season. … Sunday's win at Cleveland was the major-league-high sixth time the Rays won when trailing going into the ninth, all without extra innings.

Matt Joyce anticipates being back within two weeks.

Matt Joyce anticipates being back within two weeks.

Tampa Bay Rays outfielder Matt Joyce pegs return at two weeks 07/12/12 [Last modified: Friday, July 13, 2012 12:12pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. College World Series: Gators, LSU face off in all-SEC finals

    College

    OMAHA, Neb. — The matchup for the College World Series finals bolsters the case for those who say the best baseball in the land is played in the SEC.

    Florida’s Brady Singer, delivering during a CWS win over Louisville last week, is scheduled to start tonight against LSU.
  2. Jones: Fox Sports Sun shows depth in Rays coverage

    TV and Radio

    tom jones' two cents

    Tampa Bay Times columnist Tom Jones looks back at the best and worst from a weekend of televised sports.

    Best coverage

    Tampa Bay Rays third baseman Evan Longoria (3) makes a run home for a score in the in the final game of a three-game series between the Tampa Bay Rays and AL East rival the Baltimore Orioles at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Fla. on Sunday, June 25, 2017.
  3. Brian Boyle says returning to Lightning a 'huge option'

    Blogs

    As former Lightning forward Brian Boyle approaches free agency this week, he said he's trying to stay busy.

    Former Tampa Bay Lightning player center Brian Boyle (24), on the ice during first period action at the Amalie Arena in Tampa on March 16, 2017.
  4. Rays journal: Blake Snell to rejoin rotation, Erasmo Ramirez heads to bullpen

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — LHP Blake Snell is rejoining the Rays' rotation, but the move has as much to do with helping the bullpen as it does with Snell's improvement during his time at Triple-A Durham.

    Tampa Bay Rays relief pitcher Erasmo Ramirez (30) delivers a pitch in the first inning against the Cincinnati Reds Wednesday, June 21, 2017 in St. Petersburg.
  5. Rays' bullpen stars lit up in loss to Orioles

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — Saturday it was the soft underbelly of the bullpen that let one get away from the Rays, incurring the wrath of the team's faithful followers, who wondered why the high-leverage guys weren't pitching.

    Rays closer Alex Colome, coming in with the score tied in the ninth, allows three runs in his second straight poor outing.