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Aybar, Joyce progressing from injuries

Aybar, Joyce progressing from injuries

KISSIMMEE, Fla. -- Rays manager Joe Maddon said Saturday that injured infielder Willy Aybar and outfielder Matt Joyce are still progressing while getting work done in Minor League games.

Aybar has been sidelined with a left hamstring strain and could miss the start of the season, and Joyce is slowly recovering from a right elbow strain. Aybar missed the first 2 1/2 weeks of camp with a sprained left wrist.

"[Joyce] is able to throw, but not able to throw like you would in the outfield," Maddon said. "He's able to play catch. It's progression. It's at a snail's pace, but it's not regressing either."

The availability of Aybar and Joyce for the start of the regular season will have some significant roster ramifications. Reid Brignac, non-roster invitee Hank Blalock and infielder/outfielder Sean Rodriguez could help their chances at securing roster spots if Joyce isn't ready.

"We have several guys in the mix right now," Maddon said. "We have a nice group of guys that are having great springs, and that's making it very difficult, because we think they're all pretty much ready. "

Maddon reiterated his thoughts from a few days earlier, saying Joyce remains 50-50 to start the regular season on time. Joyce hasn't played in the field since March 11.

"I don't know if all of a sudden he has an epiphany one moment and we have it solved and it goes away, but it's nothing awful," Maddon said. "It's a bothersome thing that is not responding 100 percent, but it's not getting worse."

Brian McTaggart is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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