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Joyce's adjustments have him back on track

ST. PETERSBURG -- The Rays' swarming offense has seen production from nearly every spot in the order at one point or another this season, a primary reason they have been able to narrowly outscore their opponents.

Lately, outfielder Matt Joyce has been in on the act after enduring a difficult stretch in July. Joyce hit just .222 in July but is hitting .349 in August and had homered three times in his last seven games entering Sunday's series finale with the Yankees. His Aug. 16 home run against the Blue Jays broke a career-long streak of 123 at-bats without a long ball, a drought Joyce said "felt like years."

Joyce has not undergone a major mechanical overhaul.

"It was just a couple small adjustments for me," he said. "I watched film and I was kind of out of position. I was getting away from my game. I wasn't balanced and wasn't swinging at the right pitches. The better you can control the strike zone, the more success you're going to have."

Joyce, who has been a streaky hitter throughout his career, said he is continually tweaking his approach even in his sixth year in the Majors.

"It's a learning process," he said. "I'm 29, but I still have those ups and downs. I keep learning and making adjustments. Hopefully, the downs even out."

Bill Chastain is a reporter for Sam Strong is an associate reporter for
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