Joyce remains ready to contribute

Joyce remains ready to contribute

ST. PETERBURG -- Matt Joyce hits left-handed, so he wasn't in Wednesday afternoon's Game 1 lineup against tough Texas left-hander Cliff Lee, despite his efforts to convince Rays manager Joe Maddon of his abilities.

"I've been telling Joe that I've been working on my right-handed swing for a while," Joyce teased.

While Joyce was not in the starting lineup, he certainly was a candidate for late-inning pinch-hitting duty.

"I just need to stay ready as much as I can," Joyce said. "Try and come up big when the situation arises."

Joyce has had some success as a pinch-hitter this season, including a grand slam on July 3 at Minnesota that proved to be the difference in a Rays win.

"Pinch-hitting's tough, it's hard," Joyce said. "And I think the more you do it, the more you get used to it and the better you get at it. And hopefully that helps me out during the postseason."

Joyce hit .250 against the Rangers in 2010, and is a .333 career hitter against them for his career. To prepare for possible trips to the plate, he has viewed video of the different Rangers relievers.

"I faced a couple of those guys, you definitely have to be prepared in all aspects for everyone you face," Joyce said.