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Phillies ink former All-Star Matt Joyce to minor-league deal


Matt Joyce made an All-Star team early in his career with the Rays. (Keith Allison)

During Wednesday’s press conference to announce the re-signing of Didi Gregorius, president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski revealed that the Phillies have signed former All-Star Matt Joyce to a minor-league deal that includes an invite to major league spring training.

A left-handed bench bat, Joyce will likely serve as a pinch hitter and fifth outfielder, should he make the team out of spring training.

Joyce, now 36, has 13 years of big league experience. He spent six years as an outfielder for Tampa Bay, making the All-Star team in 2011, when he was a teammate of current Phillies general manager Sam Fuld. Joyce’s résumé also includes major league experience with the Tigers, Angels, Pirates, Athletics, Braves and Marlins.

Phillies fans may remember Joyce’s most recent success as a pinch hitter for the Braves in 2019. He slashed an impressive .295/.408/.450, en route to the Braves second straight division title.

Joyce struggled more recently in 2020 with the Marlins, both at the plate and in the field. In the pandemic-shortened season, Joyce managed -7 defensive runs saved. He did hit .251 and draw 20 walks, though his .331 slugging percentage and .682 OPS were underwhelming. Presumably, though, he’d be used less frequently on the 2021 Phillies than he was with the 2020 Marlins.

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