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News » Rays' Percival goes on 15-day disabled list 2008-05-29

Rays' Percival goes on 15-day disabled list 2008-05-29

Rays' Percival goes on 15-day disabled list 2008-05-29
ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (AP) - Tampa Bay closer Troy Percival was placed on the 15-day disabled list with a left hamstring strain, and the Rays filled the roster opening by activating infielder Willy Aybar on Thursday.

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Percival, 1-0 with 14 saves in 16 chances and a 2.95 ERA, limped off the mound during the ninth inning of Wednesday's 5-3 victory over the Texas Rangers. An MRI exam revealed no significant damage, but the AL East leaders don't want to take any unecessary chances with the 38-year-old right-hander.

"The good news is it's nothing significant. That's what we were worried about, first and foremost," Rays vice president of baseball operations Andrew Friedman said before the Rays opened a four-game series against the AL Central-leading Chicago White Sox.

"It's never ideal for your closer to go on the DL," Friedman added, "but I do feel confident that we have guys who will step up and help mitigate the loss."

Percival has been a big part of Tampa Bay's success, providing veteran leadership to a young club on and off the field since signing as a free agent in November. A four-time All-Star, he has 338 career saves, 10th on the career list.

"It's huge," reliever Dan Wheeler said. "What he's been able to do for us ... it's invaluable."

Aybar, who's hitting .292 with one homer and two RBIs in 24 at-bats, had been on the DL since April 10 with a left hamstring strain. The Rays likely will make another move, perhaps purchasing the contract of Grant Balfour from Triple-A Durham, to fill the opening in the bullpen.

While Percival is out, manager Joe Maddon plans to use more than one pitcher in the closer's role.

Wheeler got the final out in Wednesday win over Texas, and Al Reyes, Trever Miller and J.P. Howell are candidates for some ninth-inning work, too.

"We have several guys who can close a game," Maddon said.

Percival and Maddon are confident the pitcher's injury won't sideline him nearly as long as Aybar, who missed 45 games after beginning the season as the team's regular third baseman.

"We think the DL is appropriate just to get him well so that it doesn't happen again this year," Maddon said. "We pretty much expect him to be a minimum DL kind of a guy. We think if we do this right that it should just be the 15 days. ... Of course, he does not want to be on the DL. But he has to be."

Percival said he "popped" the hamstring in both legs during spring training, but never took time off from the mound to allow them to heal properly. He would have preferred the Rays waited a few days to see how the injury responded to treatment.

Nevertheless, he understood the decision.

"They're looking out for the best for the Rays and the best for me. We don't have to agree on it," said Percival, who also felt tightness in his left hamstring during a game at Oakland on May 20. "I knew I was going to be unavailable for at least four or five days. ... I feel like I could be back on the mound within a week. At that point, it's only costing me a week."

Author:Fox Sports
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Added: May 30, 2008

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