Saturday, May 26, 2018
Tampa Bay Rays

Rays closer Percival pulls himself after hurting hamstring

ST. PETERSBURG — The Rays knew closer Troy Percival had to be hurt when he willingly left the mound in the middle of the ninth inning Wednesday.

Percival felt tightness in his left hamstring so severe he fell while delivering a pitch. After trying an awkward-looking warmup pitch, he shook his head and walked off the mound. He had an MRI exam after the game, with the results expected to be announced today. At the least he is expected to miss a few days, and the disabled list is a serious possibility.

"For him to take himself out of the game, it made me worry a little bit," reliever Dan Wheeler said. "He seemed in good spirits, and he doesn't think it's too bad. Hopefully we'll be able to hold the fort down while he's gone."

Even if Percival, who was one out from his 15th save, is out only a few days, the Rays may opt to bolster the bullpen, with Wheeler and/or Al Reyes moving into the closer's role.

RHP Grant Balfour is the leading candidate for a promotion given his extraordinary numbers at Triple-A Durham: 1-0 with eight saves and a 0.38 ERA (one run in 232/3 innings), though he would have to be re-added to the 40-man roster. Among rostered options would be LHP Kurt Birkins, who was effective earlier this season.

If Percival, 38, doesn't go on the DL immediately, the Rays could make room on the active roster by sending down INF Ben Zobrist but holding off on activating INF Willy Aybar, who was to wrap up a rehab assignment at Triple-A Durham on Wednesday. Aybar was 0-for-4 with a walk while playing second base.

Percival felt tightness in the hamstring during his May 20 outing in Oakland, rested a few days and pitched Sunday with no problems. He told manager Joe Maddon before Wednesday's game that he felt good, "maybe the best day he's had in regard to how he's feeling since the last time it occurred."

But after eight pitches, it was obvious something was wrong.

"I knew he was hurting a little bit more, I could see it in his face," Maddon said. "You could see when he delivered the ball that that was not going to work and he just walked off and he knew that he couldn't continue."

HAMILTON'S HOMECOMING: Former Rays prospect Josh Hamilton sounded happy his Tropicana Field debut was behind him, having gone 2-for-12 with five RBIs.

"Good to come, glad to go get back home," Hamilton said. "My wife and kids are coming for the summer. I haven't seen my oldest girl for about a month now, so it's been a while. It was good seeing these guys. I hope they keep doing well."

PRICE CHECK: Top 2007 draft pick LHP David Price made his second start for Class A Vero Beach and was brilliant, going six shutout innings with two hits, nine strikeouts and no walks to outpitch rehabbing Mets star Pedro Martinez.

SERIES STUFF: The Rays have won nine of their past 11 series, six straight at home, losing last to the White Sox April 18-20. The Rangers hadn't lost in nine series going back to April 22-24.

MISCELLANY: The Rays' 17 May wins are their second most in any month of their 11 seasons; they were 20-6 in June 2004. … The Rays drew a season-high-matching nine walks. … Wheeler earned his first save since June 8, 2007, for Houston against the White Sox. … The Rays are alone in first place for a fourth consecutive day, matching their franchise high from earlier this month. … DH Cliff Floyd has reached base in six straight plate appearances. … The Rays are hitting .320 through the first six games of the seasonlong 10-game homestand.

Times staff writer Brant James contributed to this report.

Comments
Rays trade closer Alex Colome, outfielder Denard Span to Mariners

Rays trade closer Alex Colome, outfielder Denard Span to Mariners

ST. PETERSBURG – In January, sure.In July, absolutely.But, now?And, once again, for someone who they hope helps in the future.The Rays made a shocking trade at a surprising time of year Friday, dealing All-Star closer Alex Colome and Tampa...
Updated: 2 hours ago
Rays journal: Rays shut out by Orioles in opener

Rays journal: Rays shut out by Orioles in opener

By Joey JohnstonTimes CorrespondentST. PETERSBURG — Rays LHP Ryan Yarbrough deserved better Friday. But the offense didn't offer much, allowing the Orioles to escape with a 2-0 victory before an announced crowd of 11,354 at Tropicana Field."It ...
Updated: 11 hours ago
Rays trade Alex Colome and Denard Span to Mariners for prospects

Rays trade Alex Colome and Denard Span to Mariners for prospects

The Rays made a major trade Friday afternoon, sending All-Star closer Alex Colome and OF Denard Span to the Mariners.The return is two minor-leaguers, RHP Andrew Moore and RHP Tommy Romero. The Rays also sent cash to the Mariners.Span, a Tampa produc...
Published: 05/25/18
For starters: Sergio Romo on mound tonight as Rays open series against Orioles

For starters: Sergio Romo on mound tonight as Rays open series against Orioles

By JOEY JOHNSTONTimes CorrespondentST. PETERSBURG — For openers, the Rays will use RHP Sergio Romo, the 35-year-old career reliever, as tonight's starter against the Baltimore Orioles at Tropicana Field.Romo is making his third career "sta...
Published: 05/25/18
Alex Cobb excited about return “home” to Trop even in Orioles orange

Alex Cobb excited about return “home” to Trop even in Orioles orange

RHP Alex Cobb has already pitched twice against his former Rays mates in Baltimore and said it didn't feel that weird, especially since there were so many new faces in the lineup.But coming back to the Trop, where he made his big-league debut and spe...
Published: 05/25/18
Willy Adames goes back to AAA, leaving Rays with “a lot to be excited about’

Willy Adames goes back to AAA, leaving Rays with “a lot to be excited about’

Willy Adames' first stint in the major leagues ended as planned Thursday night when he was optioned back to Triple-A Durham at the end of his planned three-game cameo filling in for new father Joey Wendle.Adames said going back down was "tough" even ...
Published: 05/25/18
Rays journal: Blake Snell, flying Denard Span finally solve Red Sox

Rays journal: Blake Snell, flying Denard Span finally solve Red Sox

ST. PETERSBURG — Having lost two straight and nine of 12 times overall to the Red Sox, the Rays needed two things to go right Thursday:First, a strong start from Blake Snell.Second, some early runs against Rick Porcello from an offense that had...
Published: 05/24/18
Marc Topkin’s takeaways from Thursday’s Rays-Red Sox game

Marc Topkin’s takeaways from Thursday’s Rays-Red Sox game

Home cooking clearly agrees with OF Denard Span. The 34-year-old Tampa product continues to deliver, producing at the plate, running the bases, making diving catches in the outfield, and Thursday, even going over the short sidewall twice in hot pursu...
Published: 05/24/18
Rays once again will ‘open’ with relievers this weekend

Rays once again will ‘open’ with relievers this weekend

ST. PETERSBURG — The Rays weren't kidding about being serious that starting relievers gives them the best chance to win.So much so, they plan to do so again this weekend against the Orioles — in all three games. The plan is for Sergio Rom...
Published: 05/24/18
Rays tripling down on starting relievers vs. Orioles this weekend: Romo, Stanek, Romo

Rays tripling down on starting relievers vs. Orioles this weekend: Romo, Stanek, Romo

The Rays aren't kidding about being serious in using relievers to start games.After unveiling the strategy last weekend against the Angels, manager Kevin Cash said they planned to use it again, and he made that official on Thursday, naming Sergio Rom...
Published: 05/24/18