Tampa Bay Rays Troy Percival: "I know I just physically can't do it''
UPDATE, 9:13: Manager Joe Maddon is convinced Percival is done, and wants to make sure people appreciate all that he did. "I don’t think regardless of how well he feels this winter he’s not going to say "I might want to start it up again next year,' ’’ Maddon said. “I think he’s at peace with it. I think he knows it’s time, and it’s time to move on. And I think that’s appropriate and right. I want to see him be remembered for as good as he was.’’
DEVELOPING: Rays reliever Troy Percival hasn't filed retirement paperwork yet but said Tuesday he knows he physically can't handle pitching any longer.
"I still wish I was out there playing and what have you,'' he said this afternoon during a visit to the Rays clubhouse, " but at least my mind is clear that I know I just physically can't do it.''
Percival, 40, said he tried throwing in a series of bullpen sessions after getting a call about a month ago from Rays executive VP Andrew Friedman but realized after about six sessions over three Friday-Sunday weekends that he was in too much pain and wouldn't help the team.
"Every Sunday was just awful,'' he said. "I could throw okay on Friday but the Sunday one was bad. So it's just not going to work.''
So that means he's retired (again)? "I would venture to say that unless something miraculous happens. There's no need going out when you can't throw more than once in four days. ... "I know that I really can't go out there and do it.''
Percvial will finish with 358 saves, eighth all time.
He said he became very frustrated after the fourth session, tried it again one more weekend "and I said "There's no way,' '' he said. "It's the same old thing I was dealing with when I was here, but I had a lot of pills. I found out when I didn't have the anti-inflammatories and the pain pills it actually hurts as bad or worse before I had surgery.''
Percival said he may have tried to come back too quickly from his off-season back surgery, but didn't want to miss half of what he expected to be his last season. "I might have been a little more sound, but I'm not going to look back at it any,'' he said. "I did the best I could, tried the best that I could to help the team. ... It just wasn't getting any better even after I took 3-4 weeks off, it was the same thing as soon I tried to throw two times it was no good.''
He went on the DL in late May and was undergoing treatment and chiropractic care, but when he tried to throw the bullpen sessions realized he wasn't well enough to continue. He will soon return to see the back specialist because he continues to have problems, but hopes to put off a fusion for a couple years.
"I've got so many ailments now I don't see that I can go out an compete at this level anymore,'' he said. "I can do it once in a while, maybe once every four or five days, but that's not good enough at this level.''