Rays demote third catcher, recall Joyce

Finally, the inevitable:

    Outfielder Matt Joyce was called up from Triple-A Durham, after Thursday's game. Catcher Dioner Navarro was sent down.

    Navarro was struggling at the plate, hitting only .210 this season. The Rays have been carrying 3 catchers on the roster, for the past 3 weeks.

    Joyce was hitting .293 at Durham, with 3 home runs and 12 RBIs. Joyce was battling a shoulder injury earlier in the season, but apparently has recovered from that.

Is this the most obvious pair of roster moves we've seen this season?

The Rays have been using Navarro mostly as a defensive replacement; since his All-Star season (2008) he's got a .216/.268/.314 line in 151 games. I'm not convinced that he's really this bad ... but with John Jaso and Kelly Shoppach around, it really doesn't matter.

Meanwhile, though the Rays' DHs haven't been the worst in the league (or even close; there are some really lousy DH situations out there), nothing they've tried has really worked. Matt Joyce isn't great, but he's immediately one of the Rays' seven or eight best hitters and gives Joe Maddon a lot more flexibility than he's had (and there's little reason for Gabe Kapler to ever play again).

This is basically it, though. Aside from the occasional bullpen tinkering and the possible swapping out of Wade Davis for Jeremy Hellickson in the rotation, the Rays now have all their best troops in the front line, ready to fight the good fight. It might still not be enough, but at least now there won't be any excuses.