Joyce always 'learning, reading, listening'

Right fielder committed to student mindset, within and beyond baseball

Joyce always 'learning, reading, listening'

MESA, Ariz. -- Matt Joyce wants a library in his house one day -- one room with wall-to-wall books, most of which he will already have read.

In the meantime, Joyce has boxes, and those boxes travel with the A's new right fielder, who has a thirst to better himself in his chosen profession, but also in a number of other fields that interest him on a daily basis.

"I believe you have to put something in your brain almost every day, because as people in general, we kind of have a tendency to get a little complacent, to get a little comfortable," Joyce said. "I don't want to be comfortable. I want to make sure I'm growing.

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"I always feel like I have to be doing something. And if I'm not doing something, then I'm not getting better. I'm not growing."

Real estate, business and mindset are some of Joyce's favorite topics. And while he owns a Kindle, he prefers the old-fashioned hardcover or paperback versions.

"I like to highlight. I like to write in my books. I like to take notes and even put stuff in my phone as little reminders," Joyce said. "I travel with my books. I can't wait to have a library in my house."

Joyce wants to be a well-rounded individual, but he also seeks insights from other professions that can be applied to his.

"My dad had that tough love and instilled that competitiveness in me. But it's been a process of learning, too," Joyce said. "I spend a lot of time learning, reading, listening to get the right kind of mindset and what makes the most successful people in the world successful. I think it translates in athletics.

"There's something to it. There's something to [having] the right approach and perspective on things. I think it makes all the difference in the world. I'm always trying to learn, always trying to get a little bit better. It never stops."

In the baseball sense, that includes utilizing noted hitting guru Bobby Tewksbary, who operates out of Rhode Island.

"I've been really fortunate to meet some really intelligent guys who've helped transform other guys' careers. So for me, why not go to some of the best and pick their brains and see what you can learn?" said Joyce, a career .242 hitter in nine seasons and an All-Star in 2011 with the Rays. "Trying to emulate the best hitters and what they do and what makes them successful has helped me turn my career around."

Joyce has particularly latched on to studying Barry Bonds.

"Our swings aren't the same, but a lot of the things Bonds talks about and what he did that made him successful have really helped me over the last year or so," Joyce said.

Joyce, who figures to share platoon duties with Mark Canha in right, carries a career .341 on-base percentage. This past season with the Pirates, he reached safely at a .403 clip. That skill and what he can mean -- and already has -- in the clubhouse are what attracted the A's to Joyce, now with his fifth organization.

"He's an on-base guy that we've kind of been missing here the last couple years," A's manager Bob Melvin said. "When you add a guy like him to the lineup, I think everybody gets better because of it. For us, we're not used to being last in on-base percentage."

Chris Gabel is a contributor to MLB.com and covered the A's on Thursday. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.