Rays activate Joyce from 15-day disabled list

Rays activate Joyce from 15-day disabled list

ST. PETERSBURG -- The Rays outfield received a significant boost on Tuesday.

Tampa Bay activated Matt Joyce, who had been on the disabled list since mid-June due to an external oblique strain. The Rays, who still have five players on the disabled list, were 8-15 in his absence.

Joyce is batting .279 on the year with 11 homers and 34 RBIs. He hit cleanup in Tuesday's lineup, playing right field.

"You can see the significance of one other name in the lineup and how it impacts the lineup and what it looks like because of that one person," Rays manager Joe Maddon said. "Just think about when you get two or three."

Joyce began a rehab assignment Sunday with Class A Charlotte and went 1-for-3 with an RBI double. Joyce played again on Monday, going 1-for-5 with an RBI single. He said that hitting was the hardest part during the stint, but got better quickly.

"Everything felt great," Joyce said. "I feel like my timing really wasn't that far off. I was seeing the ball pretty well, hit a couple balls hard. I felt like I was ready, and I told them."

Maddon said he isn't sure whether Joyce will be able to play every day, but would be in close contact with him.

To make room on the active roster, Tampa Bay optioned infielder Will Rhymes to Triple-A Durham. The move would seem to allow Ben Zobrist to move back to second base while Joyce plays in right field.

"He plays our kind of game, he plays hard," Maddon said about Rhymes. "It's just one of those baseball moments. Close to 100 percent of his playing time was gonna be gone by having Matt back against a right-handed pitcher."

Fellow outfielder Sam Fuld continued his rehab assignment, playing his first game with Triple-A Durham after playing five previously with Charlotte. He went 1-for-3 with a walk, playing seven innings in center field on Monday. In his five games with Charlotte, he went 2-for-13.

"He's reporting like he feels really good," Maddon said. "The body feels good, the wrist feels good. The timing is still off a little bit, but as a baseball player, he's feeling pretty good."

Maddon added that he isn't sure when Fuld will be ready to rejoin the club.

Greg Zeck is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.