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Injured Tampa Bay Rays closer Troy Percival plans to retire

Troy Percival says he threw bullpen sessions Fridays and Sundays for three weeks, and it became clear he wouldn’t be able to return to the majors. He’ll likely need further back surgery.

JAMES BORCHUCK | Times

Troy Percival says he threw bullpen sessions Fridays and Sundays for three weeks, and it became clear he wouldn’t be able to return to the majors. He’ll likely need further back surgery.

ANAHEIM, Calif. — There's paperwork that has to be filed to make it official, but Troy Percival said he knows by the way his body hurts that his pitching career is over.

"I still wish I was out there playing and what have you, but at least my mind is clear that I know I just physically can't do it," he said during a pregame visit to the Rays clubhouse.

"I've got so many ailments now that I don't see that I can go out and compete at this level anymore. I mean, I can do it once in a while, maybe once every four or five days, but that's not good enough at this level."

Percival, 40, will retire with 358 saves, eighth-most all time. And unlike the first time he retired in 2007 as an Angel, this time he (pretty much) means it: "I would venture to say that unless something miraculous happens."

Manager Joe Maddon is convinced this is it.

"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 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."

Maddon also reiterated that Percival had a huge impact on the Rays' 2008 success.

Percival had been undergoing muscle therapy and chiropractic care since going on the disabled list in late May. He said Rays executive VP Andrew Friedman called him last month to say they could use his help.

For three weeks, Percival — who is making $4.45 million this season — threw bullpen sessions Friday and Sunday, and it quickly became obvious he wasn't going to be able to come back.

"Every Sunday was just awful," he said. "I could throw okay on Friday but the Sunday one was bad."

Percival acknowledged he may have come back too soon from offseason back surgery, as he is having further problems and likely will need a fusion at some point, but he has no regrets.

"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."

Marc Topkin can be reached at topkin@sptimes.com

Injured Tampa Bay Rays closer Troy Percival plans to retire 08/11/09 [Last modified: Tuesday, August 11, 2009 11:35pm]
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