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.

Yadier Molina responds to Willson Contreras on Instagram

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On Monday, Cubs catcher Willson Contreras showed he was very confident heading into the 2018 season, saying, “I know that I’m going to be better than [Yadier Molina and Buster Posey].” Contreras explained that his goal is to become “the best catcher in the game for a long time — like it was with Yadier Molina, like it is with Buster Posey.”

Apparently, Contreras ruffled Molina’s feathers as the Cardinals’ veteran backstop took to Instagram to respond. Posting a picture of himself with Buster Posey and Salvador Perez, Molina wrote, “Respeten los rangos NOVATOS!! aqui con los q si han probao que son los duros!!” That loosely translates to “respect the ranks,” referring to Contreras as a novice.

Molina is no stranger to using Instagram to air his grievances. He apparently used the social media app to take a swipe or two at manager Mike Matheny last year.

Of course, Molina seems to be misreading the intent of Contreras. Contreras seems to think highly of Molina, having referred to him as being one of the best catchers in the game — even if it was in the past tense. Molina should know, being someone who also competes at the highest level, that having confidence is an important part of the recipe for success. Perhaps this will make for some interesting games during the season, breathing new life into the Cubs-Cardinals rivalry.