Shoppach preparing for rehab assignment

Shoppach preparing for rehab assignment

ST. PETERSBURG -- Kelly Shoppach made another step toward beginning his rehab assignment Tuesday, throwing and running the bases in Tropicana Field before the Rays took on the Red Sox.

Shoppach, who went on the 15-day disabled list on April 13 with a right knee sprain, is scheduled to begin his rehab assignment with the Class A Charlotte Stone Crabs this weekend or Monday, manager Joe Maddon said. Before traveling to Port Charlotte, Fla., the catcher will need to hit on the field, work on catching and practice sliding.

"I know that Kelly is pushing to move it up a little bit, but I've got to get with the trainers and see specifically what they want to get," Maddon said.

Meanwhile, Maddon said there has been discussion of moving Matt Joyce up to Double-A Montgomery soon. Joyce, a candidate for the starting right-field job before the season began, started in the outfield Monday night for the first time during his rehab assignment.

Joyce, on the disabled list since April 1 with a right elbow strain, has hit well and drew three walks in Monday night's game for Charlotte, an encouraging sign for Maddon.

"Everything has been fine. There's been no setbacks," Maddon said. "[He's been] taking good at-bats. ... He's another guy who can work a good at-bat."