Carl Crawford is hurting, so Rays call up Matt Joyce

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Carl Crawford exited last night’s game with a sore left shoulder, so while the Rays await word on the seriousness of the injury they called up outfielder Matt Joyce from Triple-A. Joyce missed out on possibly being the Opening Day starter in right field because of a spring elbow injury, but was playing well at Triple-A and is deserving of the promotion regardless of Crawford’s status.
Acquired from the Tigers for Edwin Jackson last offseason, Joyce has hit .275/.376/.501 with 32 homers and 56 doubles in 192 games at Triple-A. He strikes out a lot and won’t hit for much of a batting average, but as a left-handed bat with 25-homer power would make a nice platoon starter at the very least if needed.
To clear a roster spot for Joyce the Rays demoted Dioner Navarro to Triple-A. Navarro has been the Opening Day starter for the past four seasons, but hit just .216/.268/.314 in 151 games dating back to last season and the emergence of John Jaso combined with Kelly Shoppach’s presence made him the odd man out behind the plate. If the Rays can find a taker for the rest of his $2.1 million contract, they’d almost surely dump Navarro.

If the Tigers are sub-.500 at the end of June it’ll be fire sale time

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Jon Morosi reports that that the Detroit Tigers will make all veterans available via trade if they’re still under .500 by the end of June.

This was the position they entered the offseason with — everyone is available! — but they ended up gearing up for one more push with the core of veterans they currently employ. It was not a bad move, I don’t think. With the exception of the Indians, the AL Central is mostly down, or at least appeared to be over the winter, with the Royals in decline and the Twins and White Sox seemingly a few years away from contention. The Twins, however, have been fantastic and the Tigers have mostly underachieved.

So we’re back to this. Which veterans the Tigers can reasonably unload, however, is an open question. J.D. Martinez is in his walk year, so while tradable, he may not bring back a big return. Guys like Justin Upton, Justin Verlander and Miguel Cabrera either have very large contracts or no-trade protection.

The end of June is still a while from now, of course, and while the Tigers are under .500, they’re only 4.5 games behind the Twins. But they had better turn it around or else it sounds like the front office is going to turn the page.

Must-Click Link: Remembering Eddie Grant the first major leaguer to die in combat

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As you get ready for Memorial Day weekend and whatever it entails for you and yours, take some time to read an excellent article from Mike Bates over at The Hardball Times.

The article is about Eddie Grant. You probably never heard of him. He was a journeyman infielder — often a backup — from 1905 through 1915. If you have heard of him, it was likely not for his baseball exploits, however: it was because he was the first active baseball player to die in combat, killed in the Battle of the Argonne Forest in October 1915.

Michael tells us about more than Grant’s death, however. He provides a great overview of his life and career. And notes that Grant didn’t even have to go to war if he didn’t want to. He was 34, had the chance to coach or manage and had a law degree and the potential to make a lot of money following his baseball career. He volunteered, however, for both patriotic and personal reasons. And it cost him his life.

Must-read stuff indeed. Especially this weekend.