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Angels bench outfielder Matt Joyce

Angels send struggling outfielder Matt Joyce to the bench Sunday against Oakland

The Angels benched Matt Joyce on Sunday, an indication they are running out of patience with the struggling outfielder.

Joyce is batting .178, lowest among all major league outfielders, including a .184 average against right-handers.

On Saturday, the Angels batted him ninth, and on Sunday they left him out of the starting lineup against Oakland Athletics right-handed starter Sonny Gray. When the Angels acquired Joyce from the Tampa Bay Rays last winter, they expected him to bat in the middle of the lineup against right-handers.

Manager Mike Scioscia said the Angels have not discussed releasing Joyce.

"Not at all," Scioscia said.

Scioscia said Joyce would get more chances but would not say when Joyce would play again. Scioscia noted the Angels had options in left field, but none of the options he cited is proven: Efren Navarro, primarily a first baseman; Johnny Giavotella, primarily a second baseman; rookie Kyle Kubitza, primarily a third baseman; and rookie Taylor Featherson, a utility infielder with a .094 batting average.

On Sunday, the Angels used Kubitza at third base, Navarro in left field and David Freese at designated hitter.

"If we find a lineup where guys are going to deepen our lineup and give us some offensive continuity, we're going to ride it out," Scioscia said.

Scioscia said Joyce has had close to 200 plate appearances (196, to be exact).

"His bat speed is fine," Scioscia said. "If you look at our organizational depth, a productive Matt Joyce is really important to us, especially a left-handed bat this lineup needs for balance. I think there's more production there. It's up to Matt to see if he can find his way through this."

The Angels also promoted outfielder Daniel Robertson from triple-A Salt Lake and, for the second time in three weeks, optioned first baseman/DH C.J. Cron to Salt Lake. 

If the Angels had not called up Robertson on Sunday, he said he would have been on the Bees' six-hour bus ride Sunday night from Salt Lake City to Las Vegas.

Robertson, 29, said he got word of the call-up at 11:45 p.m. Saturday night.

"I had just picked up dinner," he said. "A little Taco Bell, if you can call that dinner."

Follow Bill Shaikin on Twitter @BillShaikin

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