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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Peralta officially pulls out of WBC
Posted Feb 17, 2013 by Roger Mooney
Updated Feb 17, 2013 at 11:41 AM
PORT CHARLOTTE Rays reliever Joel Peralta officially announced this morning that he has withdrawn from the Dominican team and will not pitch in next month’s World Baseball Classic.
Two factors played a role in his decision: The neck injury he sustained on the first day of camp that has kept him off the mound and the Rays desire for him not to add the extra innings on his arm.
“That was the big part of it,” Peralta said of the stiff neck he sustained while ducking his head to get out of his Camaro. “If I was practicing and pitching and being ready I might change my mind, talk to (Rays GM) Andrew (Friedman) and see if he’ll let me go. They’re really concerned about it. They really asked me not to go, so they played a big part of this, too. I’m a Rays pitcher. I work for them.”
Peralta, who turns 37 on March 23, has made 147 appearances for the Rays over the past two seasons, pitching a total of 134 3/2 innings. If healthy and if the Rays reach the postseason, it’s possible that Peralta could exceed 80 appearances this year.
“That’s the point,” he said. “September, October, we want to make the playoffs and go to the World Series. I want to be fresh to help my team win.”
Still, Peralta said he is disappointed that he won’t represent his country in the tournament.
“The main thing is this is probably the only chance I’m going to have to play in the WBC,” he said. “I was hoping, but I couldn’t. Years earlier I was anxious for them to invite me to go and it never happened. Now it happens and I can’t go, so it hurts a little bit.”