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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Percival to DL; Aybar activated
Posted May 29, 2008 by Marc Lancaster
Updated May 29, 2008 at 06:13 PM
The Rays took the better-safe-than-sorry approach and decided to put closer Troy Percival on the 15-day disabled list today with a strained left hamstring.
“We don’t think it’s really anything horrible,” said Joe Maddon, “but we think the DL’s appropriate just to get him well so that it doesn’t happen again this year.”
They activated Willy Aybar from the DL, where he had resided since the second week of the season with a left hamstring strain of his own. Aybar is in the starting lineup as the DH. This means the Rays will be a pitcher short tonight, but they likely will send Ben Zobrist down tomorrow and bring up a reliever. Grant Balfour would seem to be the best bet there.
As expected, Percival fought the Rays on their decision to DL him, but even he acknowledged it would probably be a week before he was fully ready to pitch again.
“I understand that they’re looking out for the best for the Rays and the best for me,” said Percival. “We don’t have to agree on it, but I knew I was going to be unavailable for at least probably four or five days, so in the meantime obviously we were going to need another player. So it just gives me a little extra time.”
The fact that Percival has been dealing with hamstring trouble since spring training probably helped the Rays take the more conservative move. Percival said he never really gave his legs time to recover, and even after it flared up on him last Tuesday in Oakland he was back on the mound by Sunday.
“I took no time in spring when I did it – I just taped it up and kept going, and I made it this far,” he said. “So I think if you give me two weeks, I’ll definitely have enough time to get some strength built into it.”
As for who fills in while Percival is gone, Maddon said he will mix and match. He mentioned a confidence in not only Dan Wheeler and Al Reyes, but also Trever Miller and J.P. Howell to finish games, and noted that Gary Glover did the job a couple of times last year. Maddon said they’ll play the matchups each night, but I’d bet Wheeler would get the majority of the chances, with Miller as an alternative against a particularly lefty-heavy team.
“I’m confident that we’ll be able to pick it up for right now,” said Maddon. “We don’t want to have to go through the entire season, but we can pick Percy up for two weeks and let him pick us up the rest of the year.”
By the way, here are tonight’s lineups: