Roger Mooney covers the Tampa Bay Rays for The Tampa Tribune, TBO.com and News Channel 8. He has covered the Rays since their first season in 1998, including 11 years for the Bradenton Herald. Roger has also covered Florida, South Florida and Florida State football, the Bucs and the Lightning.
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Rays placing Joyce on DL
Posted Apr 1, 2010 by Tribune Sports
Updated Apr 1, 2010 at 12:23 PM
PORT CHARLOTTE – Rays manager Joe Maddon said this morning he still expects outfielder Matt Joyce to make an impact with the Rays this season.
It just won’t be as a player on the opening day roster.
Maddon confirmed the Rays are putting the former Armwood High standout on the disabled list with his right elbow strain. The decision was expected, since Joyce has been mostly limited to hitting for the last three weeks.
“We really have a lot of high expectations for (Joyce),” Maddon said. “We believe he is going to be a very good major league outfielder and a very productive offensive player.”
Joyce was a contender for a part of a platoon in right field, but the enter the season in good shape there with Ben Zobrist, Gabe Kapler and possibly Sean Rodriguez sharing the job.
Rodriguez, the key acquisition in the Scott Kazmir trade last summer, appears to have the team made and can play second base, shortstop and all three outfield positions. He entered today’s game hitting .467 with a .508 on-base percentage and six home runs.
Because he hasn’t been able to play the field, Joyce has only 21 at-bats in Grapefruit League play this spring. He’s hitting .333 with three doubles and a home.
As late as this morning before meeting with the coaching staff, he was still holding out hope he could be ready for the start of the season.
“I think if we can get to a point where I can hit the cutoff man, we’ll be in good shape,” he said. “As an outfielder you don’t have to throw a hundred (times), you know? You have to make a couple of throws during the game, and hopefully we can get to that point.”
But the Rays want him to take the necessary time to get the elbow “game ready,” Maddon said.
“It’s all about the arm,” Maddon said. “He’s not that far off.”