Joyce, 24, was acquired from Detroit in December in exchange for right-hander Edwin Jackson, but he could not play in any games until late in Spring Training due to tendinitis in his lower right leg. Once healthy, Joyce showed the ability that enticed Tampa Bay to trade for him. He earned the spot as the team's fifth outfielder and started in center field in the Rays' first game of the season against the Red Sox. Joyce was 1-for-10 with a home run and one RBI.
"It was a good experience," Joyce said. "I was real appreciative to be the Opening Day starter this year against Boston. You know, I had fun. I was just kind of the odd man out. I was the only one with options. And B.J. coming back -- it's just a tough situation."
Rays manager Joe Maddon remains high on Joyce.
"Just like what I've thought since Spring Training, this guy is going to be a very good outfielder," Maddon said. "He's got power -- you saw the power in Boston. He's made some nice plays. He's got a fine arm. I like the way he's been running, too. Last night, he hit a ground ball to first and ran to first base very well. I just think he's going to have a complete game -- and with power."
Maddon believes playing every day at Durham will be good for Joyce.
"He needs to play every day to really be developed," Maddon said. "I really think he's going to be a very good player. As a part of an outfield, say he ends up as our right fielder, with Carl [Crawford] and B.J. [Upton] -- that's a lot of athleticism. You've got some power between center and right. It's just a very interesting group. And I think he's going to hit well. He's going to hit for a good average as he moves along."
Joyce took Sunday's move in stride.
"Like they say, you just go down and work hard to get back up, and just keep rolling, you keep going, you keep playing, you play every day and you play hard," Joyce said. "Hopefully you come back up, and next time you do, you stick."
Bill Chastain is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.