Matt Joyce likely to be activated this weekend

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From beat man Joe Srnith of the Tampa Bay Times comes word that Rays outfielder Matt Joyce is scheduled to participate in minor league rehab games Wednesday and Thursday at Triple-A Durham, and could return to the majors on Friday if all goes smoothly in those back-to-back outings.

Joyce has been on the 15-day disabled list since June 19 because of a strained left oblique muscle.

The 27-year-old was batting .279/.387/.512 with 11 home runs and 34 RBI in 239 plate appearances before the injury.

Tampa Bay entered play Tuesday night with a 42-38 record, ranking tied for third in the five-team AL East.

The Angels were the first team to use up all of their mound visits

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Last night’s Angels-Astros game was a long affair with a bunch of homers and the use of 11 pitchers in all. The Angels used six pitchers and all of that business led to plenty of conferences. Six, in fact, which is their allotment under the new rule capping mound visits. As far as I can tell, that makes the Angels the first team to use up all of their mound visits since the advent of the rule.

Sadly, they did not try to go for a seventh, thereby testing the currently unknown limits of the rule. Umpires have been instructed to not allow additional mound visits, but they cannot issue balls or tackle anyone or anything to enforce it. Presumably, if Maldonado had walked out to talk to Cam Bedrosian about the weather or where he was going to dinner after the game, the home plate umpire would’ve simply done the old Robin Williams English policeman’s bit of yelling “Stop! . . . or I shall yell ‘Stop!’ again!” Maybe a fine would issue later, but we’ll never know.

At least until someone breaks the limit. And we know someone will, right? We should have a betting pool on who does it.