Rays lose All-Star candidate Matt Joyce to DL

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The Rays have been without their best hitter in Evan Longoria for almost two months now. Now they’re going to be without their second-best for at least two weeks.

Matt Joyce, who leads the team in average, homers and RBI this season, was placed on the disabled list due to his back injury. He last played in Tuesday’s game against the Rays.

The Joyce move was one of six made by the Rays today. The team also optioned outfielder Rich Thompson to Triple-A and designated infielder Drew Sutton for assignment.

Added to the roster were infielders Brooks Conrad and Jeff Keppinger and reliever Brandon Gomes. Conrad was claimed off waivers from the Brewers on Thursday, while Keppinger had been on the DL for the last month due to a broken toe.

Gomes was needed to help out in the pen. With Joel Peralta dropping his appeal Friday, the Rays will play with a 24-man roster for the next eight days.

It certainly won’t be easy going for the Rays offense with both Joyce and Longoria out. Ben Zobrist figures to get most of his time in the outfield while Joyce is sidelined, leaving the Rays to pick between Keppinger, Conrad, Elliot Johnson, Sean Rodriguez and Will Rhymes for three infield spots every night.

B.J. Upton is going by B.J. Upton again

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Outfielder B.J. Upton went by the name B.J., short for Bossman Junior, through the 2014 season. His father Manny was known as Bossman, hence Bossman Junior. Upton decided he wanted to be referred to by his birth name Melvin starting in 2015, saying that everyone except baseball fans knew him by that name. Now, he’s back to B.J., Scott Boeck of USA TODAY Sports reports.

For those keeping score at home, Upton is the artist formerly and currently known as B.J.

Upton, 34, hasn’t played in the majors since 2016. He signed a minor league deal with the Indians in December 2017 but was released in the middle of last March and wasn’t able to latch on with another team. It seems unlikely he finds his way back to the majors.