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Rays leave Percival off postseason roster

ST. PETERSBURG — Feeling good wasn't good enough for Troy Percival to have a spot in the Rays bullpen.

Though nothing was official Wednesday and all was conceivably subject to change before today's 10 a.m. deadline, the Rays planned to go into play with a six-man bullpen that includes rookie LHP David Price but not Percival.

The 10-man pitching staff allows them to carry 15 position players, giving them room for the return of LF Carl Crawford while also keeping rookie OF Fernando Perez.

Percival, 39, has battled back problems the past few weeks but said he didn't think his health was as much of an issue as the Rays wanting to get another player — in theory Price or Perez — on the roster.

"Nothing I can do about it," he said. "It is what it is, and I understand I spent the good majority of two months not healthy and not pitching well. The shot definitely helped and I think that I showed that I can go out and pitch. I went three out of four (games), then went two more. I think health isn't really that big of an issue at this point. It's just a matter of what they want to do with the roster. I'll be fine with whatever they can give me."

The Rays will have three lefties with Price, J.P. Howell and Trever Miller. Perez will give them speed and defense off the bench, and insurance if Crawford isn't as recovered from right hand surgery as he appears.

One reason the Rays didn't make any announcements is that they need MLB approval for two players, backup C Michel Hernandez and Price, who were called up after the Aug. 31 deadline. They have to be added as replacements for players on the DL, C Shawn Riggans and one of their injured pitchers, either Chad Orvella or Jae Kuk Ryu.

LOOKING UP: Crawford is happy just to be back in the lineup for now and hitting fifth today. But he'd really like to return to his customary No. 2 and hopes to show manager Joe Maddon enough quickly.

"Joe, he's been making the right calls all year long and this shouldn't be any different," he said. "I'm pretty sure he has some smart reason why I'm sitting in the (five) hole, and it always works so we'll just roll with it right now."

Maddon, indeed, had his reasons: because Crawford hasn't batted in a game since injuring his right hand Aug. 9, because he is good at driving in runs and should have opportunities with Carlos Pena and Evan Longoria in front of him and because he in turn should be on base for No. 6 hitter Cliff Floyd and No. 7 Dioner Navarro.

TICKET UPDATE: Registration for the chance to buy tickets to the first two potential ALCS home games ends at midnight tonight on raysbaseball.com, with on-sale dates to be determined. The team continues to offer postseason packages to fans who make deposits on 2009 season tickets.

CALLING THE GAME: With no team TV coverage of postseason games, the Rays will put broadcasters Dewayne Staats and Joe Magrane to work doing a couple of innings on radio during home games.

MISCELLANY: Foul territory will be reduced by a small amount just beyond each dugout as barriers were installed to create more space for photographers. … Gates open at noon, player introductions are at 2:05. … Due to MLB rules, only Gatorade products and coolers can be in the dugouts.

Times staff writers Brant James and Joe Smith contributed to this report.

Rays leave Percival off postseason roster 10/01/08 [Last modified: Thursday, October 2, 2008 4:01pm]
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