Percival on DL, but injury "not anything significant"
The Rays placed closer Troy Percival on the 15-day disabled list Thursday but were relieved that his left hamstring strain is "not anything significant.''
INF Willy Aybar was reinstated from the disabled list, but reliever Grant Balfour is expected to be promoted in time for Friday's game, with INF Ben Zobrist being optioned to Triple-A Durham.
Executive VP Andrew Friedman said the Rays do not consider Percival's injury anything that will lead to a long-term absence.
"We're confident that it’s not anything that’s going to linger into a month or months of missed time and that was first and foremost the most important thing on our minds,'' Friedman said. "Once we got past that, now it’s figuring out how best to handle it.”
The Rays opted for the cautious route by putting Percival, 38, on the DL. Friedman said the Rays expect Percival only to be sidelined for the minimum 15 days.
Percival, known for his competitiveness, didn't want to go on the DL, but understand where the club is coming from, agreeing he'll need a few days to rest his hamstrings, which he said have bothered him since spring training. Percival said he plans to make the trip to Boston next week, and hopes to start throwing again from the side within four or five days.
"I’ve been fighting this since spring training –I popped my hamstrings- my left and my right one – in spring training," Percival said. "I've been fighting it all the way through – I never really took time off the mound to try to get it to heal properly."
Percival felt tightness in the hamstring during the May 30 game in Oakland, then pitched on Sunday with no problem. He was one out from his 15th save on Wednesday when he crumpled to the ground and was unable to continue.
Percival said on the pitch, he rolled his ankle, his nerve shut down and his leg gave out.
Manager Joe Maddon said he would not name a closer and use several relievers in that role as the Rays enter a rigorous stretch against the White Sox, Red Sox, Rangers, Angels, Marlins and Cubs. Dan Wheeler and Al Reyes are likely to split the primary duties, but Maddon said he would also use Trever Miller, J.P. Howell and possibly Gary Glover.
Aybar is in the lineup at DH batting eighth, with Jonny Gomes in rightfield.