Rehab stints next step for Joyce, Fuld

Rehab stints next step for Joyce, Fuld

Rehab stints next step for Joyce, Fuld
ST. PETERSBURG -- Two Rays outfielders are set to begin rehab assignments on their way back from a once-crowded disabled list.

Matt Joyce is slated to join Triple-A Durham and play on Wednesday and Thursday, and on Saturday, Sam Fuld will begin his rehab assignment, which could last as long as 20 days, with Class A Advanced Charlotte in Palm Beach, Fla.

Tampa Bay has struggled since Joyce went on the 15-day disabled list, posting a 4-9 record entering Tuesday since an oblique strain sidelined the slugger.

Rays manager Joe Maddon said on Tuesday that Joyce will be evaluated after each game he plays.

"He felt pretty good today, so we'll see if we could keep him to a minimum based on how he feels and then react from there," Maddon said.

Maddon added that there is a possibility Joyce could rejoin the Rays during their upcoming series at Cleveland, but he doesn't want Joyce to play if he's not feeling up to it.

"If you win one or two games because he's playing in Cleveland, that's also a way to look at it," Maddon said of activating Joyce before the All-Star break. "Of course I don't want any long-term detriments."

Fuld, meanwhile, hasn't played a game yet this season due to right wrist surgery. Fuld said he may not need the fully allotted period for his rehab assignment, but it will take time.

"I'm going to have to play it by ear and see how it goes," Fuld said. "Obviously, I'm going to need more time than Matt Joyce is going to need, or even [Evan Longoria]. I'm going to need a good at least two weeks, I think."

Fuld said he had never missed an extended amount of time, as he has this year. He added that one of the biggest adjustments will be regaining his timing at the plate, but he was optimistic that his legs will hold up over the course of a game because he has been able to keep in shape by running.

Fuld said he will likely play five innings in his first game back before serving as a designated hitter on Sunday.

One player also on the disabled list who won't be making the trip to Cleveland is Longoria, the Rays' third baseman.

Maddon said the Rays slugger will stay back to work out with head athletic trainer Ron Porterfield, adding that the club will have a better idea how to handle Longoria's progress after the All-Star break.