Joyce with the Atlanta Braves in 2019
|Born: August 3, 1984|
|May 5, 2008, for the Detroit Tigers|
|MLB statistics |
(through 2020 season)
|Runs batted in||496|
|Career highlights and awards|
Matthew Ryan Joyce (born August 3, 1984) is an American professional baseball outfielder who is a free agent. He has played in Major League Baseball (MLB) for the Detroit Tigers, Tampa Bay Rays, Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim, Pittsburgh Pirates, Oakland Athletics, Atlanta Braves and Miami Marlins. Joyce was an All-Star selection in 2011.
Joyce played baseball for Florida Southern College, and participated in the 2005 season which saw them win their ninth Division II national title. While playing for FSC Joyce participated in an exhibition game against the Detroit Tigers in which the teams tied 2-2 after 10 innings. Just days after the final game, Joyce was one of four players from that team selected in the draft; the others were Geoff Strickland, Jeff Howell, and Matthew Mercurio.
In 2006, Joyce moved up to the Single-A West Michigan Whitecaps, where he batted .258 with 11 home runs and 86 RBIs as the Whitecaps captured the Midwest League's championship for the second time in three years.
In 2007 the Tigers moved Joyce up to the Double-A Erie SeaWolves, where he hit .257 but improved his power, hitting 17 home runs. The SeaWolves won their division that year but fell to the Akron Aeros in the playoffs. Joyce, along with fellow outfielder Clete Thomas, was considered a likely future major leaguer. Commenting on the two, Tigers general manager Dave Dombrowski remarked that, "We think they're both prospects... We're not counting on them for this year, but they've got a chance to play at the Triple-A level (this season), depending on how they do this spring."
In 2008, Joyce was one of 21 non-roster invitees to Tigers' spring training. He said: "Your mind races... You're a step closer to the big leagues. It's a big accomplishment, but you have to take it in stride, have fun with it and not pressure yourself too much."
The Tigers called him up in early May to take Jacque Jones' spot on the roster. In his major league debut, Joyce played right field and batted seventh in the lineup. In his first at bat, he drew a walk, but went hitless on the evening. Joyce hit his first big league home run on May 10, at home against the New York Yankees. On May 29, Joyce lost his playing time to Marcus Thames, and he was subsequently sent to Toledo. The Tigers recalled Joyce on June 29 after Magglio Ordóñez went on the disabled list with a pulled oblique.
Joyce batted .252 for the Tigers, in 242 at bats, primarily as a left fielder.
On December 10, 2008, the Tigers traded Joyce to the Tampa Bay Rays for pitcher Edwin Jackson. In 2009, Joyce was an opening day starter for the Tampa Bay Rays, filling in for the injured B.J. Upton. He was sent back down to the minors shortly after. He spent the rest of the year with the Durham Bulls. He batted clean-up and hit 35 doubles with a slugging percentage well in the 400s. Joyce hit .188 in 32 at bats for the Rays, with a .270 on-base percentage.
Joyce hurt his elbow early in 2010 spring training, and was on the disabled list. He was recalled to the active roster on June 24, after a minor league rehab stint. He filled the roster spot vacated by catcher Dioner Navarro, who was optioned to the Durham Bulls. Joyce hit a pinch-hit grand slam go-ahead home run in the 8th inning of the Rays-Twins game on July 3 at Target Field, moving to the starting right field position. Joyce hit a grand slam go ahead home run in the 6th inning of Matt Garza's no hitter against the Detroit Tigers, Joyce's former team.
He batted .241 in 216 at bats in 2010, playing right field (77 games) and left field (13 games), and as the designated hitter (11 games).
On March 15, 2012, Joyce left a game with a jammed left wrist after sliding into second base and trying to make a diving catch. On July 17, 2012 he returned from the disabled list and led the Rays to a 4-2 win over the Cleveland Indians.
During the 2012 season, Joyce played in 124 games for the Rays. He batted .241, with 17 homers and 59 RBI.
In 2013 Joyce batted .235 with 18 Home runs, while appearing in 140 games for the Rays.
On December 16, 2014, Joyce was traded to the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim in exchange for Kevin Jepsen. He played 93 games for the Angels in 2015, batting .174, with 21 RBIs and 5 home runs. He filed for free agency on November 2, 2015.
On February 18, 2016, Joyce signed a minor league contract with the Pittsburgh Pirates. Joyce had a bounce back season with Pittsburgh, his first season in the National league. He hit .242 with 13 home runs and 42 RBI's in 140 games, playing mostly off the bench.
Joyce signed a two-year, $11 million deal with the Oakland Athletics on November 30, 2016. On August 5, 2017, Joyce was suspended for two games after yelling an anti-gay slur at a fan the previous day. During his suspension, Joyce was required to perform community service by participating in a public outreach initiative with PFLAG, a family and ally organization supporting the LGBTQ community. In his first season with the A's, Joyce set career highs in games played (141), at bats (469), runs (78), home runs (25) and walks (66). On July 7, 2018, he was placed on the disabled list with a lumbar strain. He ended the season hitting .208 in just 83 games.
Joyce signed a minor league contract with the Cleveland Indians on February 9, 2019. The deal included an invitation to the Indians' major league spring training camp. On March 19, 2019, Joyce was released from his contract. On March 20, 2019, Joyce signed a minor league deal with the San Francisco Giants. He was traded to the Atlanta Braves in exchange for cash considerations on March 23.
On March 28, 2019, Joyce hit a two-run homer in a pinch-hit appearance in the Braves' Opening Day loss to the Philadelphia Phillies.