Pirates newcomer Joyce looking to rebound
BRADENTON, Fla. — Only four years removed from being an All-Star, outfielder Matt Joyce last season found himself on the brink of obscurity.
Joyce played in just 93 games with the Los Angeles Angels and batted .174 with a paltry .272 on-base percentage.
The Angels, who had traded late-inning reliever Kevin Jepsen to get Joyce in December 2014, made no effort to re-sign Joyce after one season.
“It's the most frustrating thing in the world to fail at something you've worked so hard at,” Joyce said. “But for me, it's fuel to the fire.”
Joyce, 31, signed a minor league deal with the Pirates and reported on Saturday morning to spring training camp. Although he is a non-roster player, Joyce has a great chance to make the Opening Day roster as the fourth outfielder.
“I'd always seen him as a baseball player and a guy who was more than just a contributor,” manager Clint Hurdle said.
In 2011, Joyce parlayed a fantastic first half with the Tampa Bay Rays — he hit .470 with seven home runs that May — into a berth on the American League All-Star team. He ended the season with a .277 average and an .825 OPS.
His performance dipped over the next three seasons, then crashed last year. This past offseason, Joyce went to the Dominican Winter League to rediscover his swing.
“I feel like I'm in a really good spot,” Joyce said.
With the Rays, Joyce did a bit of pregame work at first base. He wants to do even more this spring with the Pirates.
“We have no problem looking at that opportunity,” Hurdle said.
Notes: Infielders Josh Harrison and Josh Bell arrived Saturday morning. The only absentees from the 40-man roster are Gregory Polanco, Mike Morris, Alen Hanson and Harold Ramirez. The deadline for position players to report is Monday, and the first full-squad workout will be Tuesday. ... There will be a total of 63 players in camp, including non-roster invitees.
Rob Biertempfel is a Tribune-Review staff writer. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org or via Twitter @BiertempfelTrib.
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments â either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.