Bartlett's back; Percival's out 2-4 weeks
UPDATE, 7:10: It's still not clear exactly what's wrong with closer Troy Percival's right knee, but exec VP Andrew Friedman said he is expected to be out 2-4 weeks.
Friedman said there is "cartilage involvement" that is "not a tear,'' and that a decision will be made, probably not until Monday, on whether Percvial should have surgery, or go through rehab and get a cortisone shot. The decision will be made after the Rays doctor, Koco Eaton, confers with the Rangers doctor, Keith Meister, who did Friday's exam and MRI. Either way, Friedman said it will be a 2-4 week absence, which could sideline Percival into mid-September.
Juan Salas, fittingly, was late showing up on Friday, though due to a flight delay. He was to arrive at the stadium by gametime.
UPDATE, 6:38: Percival says he might need arthroscopic surgery to repair the cartilage problem, but in the worst case scenario would still be out only about three weeks, which would put him back in the bullpen for most of the September run. He said there is also a chance he could get a shot to manage the pain and not need to have it repaired.
Rays executive VP Andrew Friedman is expected to provide a more detailed update later today.
Also, manager Joe Maddon was rather emphatic that Grant Balfour will NOT just assume the closer's job, and that the Rays will use several relievers to finish games, including Balfour, Dan Wheeler, J.P. Howell and Chad Bradford.
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With RHP Troy Percival on the DL and RHP Juan Salas joining the bullpen, the Rays will try to guarantee a winning roadtrip tonight with the first of three games against the Rangers, who hit well and pitch poorly.
Jason Bartlett is back in the Rays starting lineup for the first time since Aug. 3, when he was hit by a pitch and sustained a bruised right index finger. As a result, Ben Zobrist is off.
So is C Dioner Navarro, who went 3-for-12 on the Oakland series and saw his average drop below .300 (.299) for the first time this season. Shawn Riggans is catching.
Also, major-league RBI leader Josh Hamilton did return to the Rangers after missing Thursday's game to be with his wife for the birth of their daughter, and is in the lineup.