WASHINGTON -- Luke Scott has been on the disabled list since June 15 (retroactive to June 9) with back stiffness. But the Rays slugger feels as though he's getting close to making his return.
Scott told reporters on Wednesday that he has been hitting off a tee and taking flips.
"Tomorrow or the next day, I'll be taking batting practice on the field," Scott said. "... Things are feeling better, got to get myself back into swinging shape a little bit. But it feels pretty good.
"There's just a little bit of tightness in there. But it's nothing like it was before."
If he continues to progress, Scott believes he will be activated when the team begins a series in Kansas City on Monday.
"Yeah, I should be ready to go," Scott said. "That's the plan for now. Kansas City. Hopefully I'll be ready by then. Should be."
Joyce out of lineup with back tightness
WASHINGTON -- Matt Joyce left Tuesday night's game against the Nationals with back tightness on the left side. The Rays outfielder was not in the lineup Wednesday night.
"It's a little sore," Joyce said. "I've been getting treatment all day. I think it's just a case of [being cautious]. Not hurting it worse. As far as doing stuff, I'm going to try and test it and maybe I can pinch-hit later in the game."
Joyce said his back has been tight for the last week.
"Been getting it worked on, playing through it," said Joyce, who missed Sunday's game with flu-like symptoms. "I think maybe being sick got me a little dehydrated. Flying and sleeping in different beds, there are a lot of factors involved.
"You play out in the heat, things like that happen. I felt it really on that third at-bat on the swing that I popped it up. It really grabbed on me and I told them that it kind of tightened up and it grabbed me. And they were like, 'You know what, let's not hurt it worse.'"
Joyce said he has not had an MRI, nor does he expect to have one.
"I told them I don't think it's pulled," Joyce said. "I didn't feel like it was pulled or anything. It just kind of grabbed me. Sometimes that happens."
The Rays acquired five players from the Cubs in the Matt Garza trade, and Wednesday night Chris Archer became the fourth of that group to play for the Rays following outfielders Sam Fuld and Brandon Guyer, and catcher Robinson Chirinos. Shortstop Hak-Ju Lee is the fifth player, and he entered the season as the Rays' top position player prospect, according to Baseball America.
Fernando Rodney earned his 20th save in the team's 67th game on Tuesday, making him the quickest of any Ray to reach the 20-save mark in a season, besting the old mark of Roberto Hernandez (69th game in 1999 on June 21).
The last Major League pitcher to have 20 saves and a lower ERA at this juncture was Mariano Rivera of the Yankees in 2008 (20, 0.79).
"I tell you, everything so far, so good," Rodney said. "[Playing for the Rays] has been a good opportunity, that's what I wanted to do, show that I can pitch."
Rodney acts as if he's firing an arrow into the sky after each save he accrues. He smiled when asked if he had 30 more arrows for this season. "We're going to try, every time I go out there I'm going to try and do my job the best I can so we can win the game," he said.
Entering Wednesday night's game, Rays hitters led the Major Leagues with 248 walks. They are paced by Carlos Pena (second in the American League with 49) and Ben Zobrist (third in the AL with 46). The two are on pace for 118 and 111 walks, respectively.
In Major League history, only 15 times have teammates each walked 100 times.
Bill Chastain is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.