Roger Mooney covers the Tampa Bay Rays for The Tampa Tribune, TBO.com and News Channel 8. He has covered the Rays since their first season in 1998, including 11 years for the Bradenton Herald. Roger has also covered Florida, South Florida and Florida State football, the Bucs and the Lightning.
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Maddon’s take on Percival
Posted May 22, 2009 by Marc Lancaster
Updated May 22, 2009 at 06:21 PM
MIAMI—Joe Maddon’s presence is the main reason Troy Percival signed with the Rays two winters ago, and the bond between the two runs deep back through the years to their days with the Angels.
Maddon remains closer to Percival than anyone else in the organization, and he didn’t paint a pretty picture of Percival’s state of mind following last night’s game. Of course it’s ultimately for Percival to decide whether to come back, and the Rays hope to hear something from him by Monday or so. But it sounds like the veteran closer could very well have thrown his last pitch.
“I spoke to him after the game yesterday,” Maddon said. “I’m getting ready to leave and all of a sudden he wants to talk to me, so I went in the back and I spoke with him and he was really upset. He felt he was inconsistent in just how he felt, and then yesterday his arm was really bothering him after the game. He was distraught, and just took it on home to think about things for a little bit.
“I wouldn’t be surprised if he chooses not to come back. He was upset, and I did tell him, I said, ‘Listen, man, one thing I want you to understand before you start beating yourself up too hard: We would not have played in the World Series last year without you. Already this year you’ve had six saves for us. You’ve battled through some very difficult moments. So if it does turn out to be that way, don’t for a minute think you’re letting anybody down.’
“That’s the point I wanted to make yesterday, talking to the press after the game when the question was asked about people booing him, what I felt about it. I just feel sometimes we have too short a memory. What happened last year really put us on a platform for better things to come in years to head, and he was a huge part of that and I don’t want that to be misunderstood.
“There’s only so much you can do when you get to that age, and he’s tried everything possible to put himself back together to be, not just functional, but a very big contributor to us. He’s just not feeling that he can be that right now.”