Make us your home page

Get the quickest, smartest news, analysis and photos from the Bucs game emailed to you shortly after the final whistle.

(View our Privacy Policy)


Rays closer Percival excels with less power, more savvy

TORONTO — Since coming out of retirement in June, RHP Troy Percival has kept things extremely simple.

And as a result he has been remarkably successful.

Between his 11 games for the Rays this season and 34 for the Cardinals last season, Percival has been among the most successful relievers in the game, and close to untouchable.

His 1.41 ERA is the third best of all relievers with 50 or more innings; only J.C. Romero (1.08 going into Wednesday) and Joe Nathan (1.18) were better.

And Percival's .149 opponents' batting average is the lowest. Of his 45 appearances, 39 have been scoreless and 27 hitless. In his 11 zero-tolerance appearances for the Rays, Percival has allowed just three baserunners — two hits and a walk — and had nine perfect innings. He has used more than 16 pitches only once and 10 or fewer three times.

"Right now, if I can get out of there with three pitches, I'm the happiest guy alive," Percival, 38, said. "I'd had my fair share of strikeouts. I don't go out there intending to strike people out unless the situation calls for it. …

"But right now I try to think to myself, what pitch will get this guy out right now."

Whereas the old young Percival was overpowering, the new old Percival is crafty, moving the ball around, mixing in breaking balls.

"He's pitching," manager Joe Maddon said. "The difference between then and now is that he's more of a pitcher."

ON THE MARK: Maddon said he could tell LHP Scott Kazmir's between-starts bullpen session on Wednesday went well based on the way pitching coach Jim Hickey reacted.

"Tremendous. Excellent. Hick was really pleased with it. He came in raving, actually. He was very excited," Maddon said. "He said his command was spectacular. When your command is good that means your arm is feeling pretty good, so he was very happy about that."

Kazmir, whose season debut Sunday was marred by poor mechanics, is scheduled to start Saturday against Joe Saunders, the first of the Angels' pair of 6-0 aces. Ervin Santana pitches Sunday against Andy Sonnanstine.

REHAB REPORT: DH Cliff Floyd (right knee surgery) played a third straight day in extended spring training, going 1-for-4, and Maddon expects to have a better idea Friday how soon he will be activated.

When Floyd comes back, he will be used exclusively at DH, meaning Eric Hinske is headed to rightfield. Maddon said he was okay with getting Floyd back before the May 16-18 interleague series at St. Louis and would use him as a pinch-hitter.

INF Ben Zobrist (fractured left thumb) played the first of four rehab games for Class A Vero and was 1-for-4 as the DH; he also is expected to be activated next week. INF Willy Aybar (left hamstring strain) also played in the extended spring game.

RHP Al Reyes is scheduled for a bullpen session today and RHP Gary Glover on Saturday; both could be back soon after.

Top draft pick LHP David Price, rehabbing an elbow strain, pitched three innings in extended spring, allowing two hits while striking out four. When healthy he is expected to join Vero.

GARZA OKAY: Matt Garza wasn't pleased about throwing 47 balls among his 106 pitches but said "I got the outs when I had to.'' Overall, he said he was "making progress.''

MISCELLANY: The Rays had won five straight over the Jays. … Hinske leads the AL with a .602 slugging percentage. … The Rays will auction several "experiences" during Monday's broadcast, including pitching sessions with Kazmir and batting lessons by Floyd. … The Jays had gone 20 consecutive games without scoring more than five runs, the longest such streak in the American League since the 2002 Tigers went 24.

Rays closer Percival excels with less power, more savvy 05/07/08 [Last modified: Thursday, May 8, 2008 1:59pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Cup-winning Lightning captain Dave Andreychuk makes Hockey Hall of Fame

    Lightning Strikes

    TAMPA — Hall of Fame coach Scotty Bowman said Dave Andreychuk's name has surfaced often the past eight years with the selection committee.

    30 Oct 2001:  Left wing Dave Andreychuk #25 of the Tampa Bay Lightning skates towards the blue line during the NHL game against the Toronto Maple Leafs at Air Canada Centre in Toronto, Canada.  The Maple Leafs defeated the Lightning 3-2.  Mandatory Credit:  Dave Sanford /Allsport
  2. Rays acquire slick-fielding shortstop Adeiny Hechavarria from Marlins

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — Chaim Bloom said the Rays weren't necessarily in the market for a shortstop. The team has a number of those. But when the Marlins recently began shopping Adeiny Hechavarria, well, that was too much to pass up.

    Adeiny Hechavarria has emerged as one of baseball’s top defensive shortstops in the past three seasons with the Marlins.
  3. Rays at Pirates, 7:05 p.m. Tuesday, Pittsburgh

    The Heater

    Tonight: at Pirates

    7:05, PNC Park

    TV/radio: Fox Sports Sun; 620-AM, 680-AM (Spanish)

    Probable pitchers

    Rays: Alex Cobb (6-5, 4.05)

    PORT CHARLOTTE, FL - FEBRUARY 18:  Alex Cobb #53 of the Tampa Bay Rays poses for a portrait during the Tampa Bay Rays photo day on February 18, 2017 at Charlotte Sports Park in Port Charlotte, Floida.  (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
  4. Lightning journal: Forward Yanni Gourde agrees to two-year deal

    Lightning Strikes

    TAMPA — Just three years ago, Yanni Gourde was fighting to stay in pro hockey.

    Tampa Bay Lightning center Yanni Gourde celebrates after scoring against the Florida Panthers during the second period of an NHL hockey game, Saturday, March 11, 2017, in Tampa, Fla. (AP Photo/Chris O'Meara) TPA108
  5. What they're saying about Dave Andreychuk making Hall of Fame

    Lightning Strikes

    "Dave helped me so much when I was just starting my career, a young kid that was looking to find his way as a hockey player, a person and a member of the Tampa Bay community. In addition to watching him compile such awe-inspiring statistics, I remember him as a big brother to me and many others, making sure all the …