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04/17/10 7:15 PM ET

Joyce suffers setback with elbow rehab

Outfielder back in St. Pete with slow-healing strain

BOSTON -- Matt Joyce has had what manager Joe Maddon considers a "setback" in the rehab for his right elbow strain as the outfielder, who many figured would be starting in right field this season, was sent back to St. Petersburg from Triple-A Durham.

"[We] just had to pull him back and be a little more conservative with the rehab," Maddon said. "So they brought him back to St. Pete to kind of modify it a bit or back off. So of course he's behind schedule with getting his arm well. [We] just wanted to get him back there and supervise it more closely from home."

Joyce has played in five games for the Bulls, collecting two hits in 16 at-bats (a .125 batting average) with one RBI, but he has only been the team's designated hitter and has not been able to play the outfield.

"He was throwing, playing catch like he had been, but it was not responding to the point where he felt good about it going into the game," Maddon said. "Ronnie [Porterfield, Rays head athletic trainer] just thinks it's a matter of time and it's just going to take more time, and he wanted to be more involved in the rehab. It was getting so slowly better, he just could not throw at a distance. He could not throw in a game. And until he can, we did not want to do anything about it but get him well. Because we don't want to put him in the outfield."

Suspended game puts Cormier in new spot

BOSTON -- Lance Cormier went to bed Friday night knowing that he would be the first pitcher in when Friday night's suspended game between the Rays and Red Sox resumed Saturday night.

Cormier had just entered a 1-1 game to pitch the bottom of the ninth inning when the tarp was ordered back on the field. Approximately 50 minutes later, the game was suspended.

Cormier is a relief pitcher for the Rays, so Saturday's assignment is a little different for the right-hander, but he said it's not really a strange enough task to bother him. He did say it was unusual going to bed Friday night already knowing that David Ortiz would be the first hitter he would face in the bottom of the ninth.

"That's different, obviously," Cormier said. "I knew I was going to see Big Papi first. I knew that from the eighth inning on. That's been in my head from then on. But it's just going to be a game out there."

Once again, Boston's weather is frigid, as it rained off and on all Saturday afternoon. Fortunately for Cormier, cold weather does not bother him.

"That is as long as it's not the wet and the cold," Cormier said. "You just have to blow on your hand more. By the time you get out there and have a little sweat going, you're heated up, it's fine. It's just when you stop, you have to stay warm in the dugout."

Choate picks up a much needed out

BOSTON -- Randy Choate had struggled in his previous three outings before Rays manager Joe Maddon brought him in to face Boston's J.D. Drew to start the eighth inning of Friday night's game.

Choate fell behind 2-0 before Drew grounded out to first base for the first out of the inning. The left-hander then exited the game.

"Choate needed to have that happen," Maddon said.

Choate conceded that getting any out after his previous three outings felt pretty good.

"I fell behind, which is not what I wanted to do, but then I threw a pretty good sinker and got him to roll over on it to first," Choate said. "One step at a time. I don't want to make the last three outings like it was the end of anything, or that it's that big of a deal. But it's definitely a confidence builder."

Choate used Thursday's off-day to forget about baseball.

"I didn't think about anything," Choate said. "Then to get back out there the first day after the off-day in a 1-1 game, that was nice."

Shoppach to have knee assessed

BOSTON -- Kelly Shoppach has been sent home to St. Petersburg to have his sore right knee looked at by team orthopedic surgeon Koco Eaton on Monday; surgery is a possiblity for the Rays catcher.

"It's still pretty sore, pretty stiff, those kinds of things," Rays manager Joe Maddon said. "Of course he's kind of a tough guy. He's going to tell you he's going to be ready in 10 days or two weeks. That's just who he is. But we wanted to make sure about it. So we wanted to send him back and again finalize what it is and exactly what it is going to take to get him back out there."

The Rays placed Shoppach on the 15-day disabled list Tuesday, retroactive to Sunday, with what was believed to be a sprained right knee. John Jasso was recalled from Triple-A Durham.

Shoppach took a shot in the April 10 game against the Yankees when he successfully blocked Curtis Granderson from scoring. Later in that same game, he singled with two outs in the eighth to break up CC Sabathia's no-hitter. Since then, the soreness has intensified.

"It just hasn't gone away," said Shoppach on Tuesday. "[It's] progressively gotten worse. [It] came to a point yesterday where I didn't feel comfortable being able to perform. [I] wouldn't be able to help the team, so catcher is not a position where you can hide a guy for a day or two. ... Because the position is so taxing and demanding, in the blink of an eye, you'd hate to have to run a position player out there. So I think that it's important that there's somebody here who can help."

Shoppach has already had various tests performed, including an MRI.

Bill Chastain is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.