The good news is that the Rays have Evan Longoria back tonight after the All-Star third baseman missed three games with strep throat.
The bad is that the team’s best hitter this year, Matt Joyce, is absent with what the Rays are calling “post-injection soreness” in his left shoulder.
Joyce received his second cortisone shot of the year due to lingering soreness in the shoulder and is dealing with pain around the injection area. He’s expected to be available to pinch-hit tonight, and the Rays are optimistic that he’ll be back in the lineup on Saturday.
Joyce is second in the AL in batting average this year. Having falled into a bit of a slump, he’s recently tumbled from second to fourth in OPS, with Miguel Cabrera and David Ortiz now in the place and show positions behind Jose Bautista. Joyce is hitting .338/.397/.590 with 10 homers and 34 RBI in 195 at-bats.
Since Joyce probably isn’t going to hit .340 all year, it’d help the Rays a lot if Longoria could step it up. He’s hitting .252/.360/.435 with just 13 RBI in 115 at-bats. He finished with an OPS in the .870-.890 range in each of his first three big-league seasons, but he’s at .795 right now.
Cardinals right-handed reliever Greg Holland has been placed on the 10-day disabled list with a right hip impingement, per a team announcement on Saturday. In corresponding moves, catcher Carson Kelly (right hamstring strain) and lefty reliever Tyler Lyons (back strain) were activated from the disabled list, while catcher Steven Baron was optioned to Triple-A Memphis. The team has yet to reveal how long Holland is expected to be sidelined.
The 32-year-old reliever hasn’t looked quite himself this season, limping toward a 9.45 ERA, 10.1 BB/9 and 6.8 SO/9 in just 13 1/3 innings of work. It’s a concerning departure from the sub-4.00 ERA and NL-leading 41 saves he posted with the Rockies in 2017, though a brief stay on the disabled list may help him iron out some of the issues that have prevented him from replicating those numbers in 2018. This is the first major injury he’s sustained since 2015, when he underwent surgery to repair a torn UCL in his pitching arm; he doesn’t appear to have a history of hip issues, either.
Lyons, 30, will slot back into the bullpen while Holland recovers. The left-hander landed on the 10-day disabled list in mid-May after pitching to a 6.17 ERA, 3.9 BB/9 and 9.3 SO/9 across 11 2/3 innings — underwhelming results, to be sure, but nothing close to Holland’s career-worst output. Lyons saw mixed results in two rehab starts with Double-A Springfield earlier this month, allowing two runs on two hits and recording one strikeout in 1 2/3 innings.