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Rays put Jackson on ALCS roster, take Hinske off

Edwin Jackson will be used primarily in long relief and extra innings.

Edwin Jackson will be used primarily in long relief and extra innings.

ST. PETERSBURG — The decision to put RHP Edwin Jackson back on the roster and remove OF Eric Hinske was based, it seems, on the worst-case scenario.

If the Rays were to get blown out early in a game, they felt better about having the extra pitcher to work those innings without disrupting the rest of the bullpen than having an additional position player.

"The thing that's a concern is that you have that one bad game that you have to use people that you don't want to use," manager Joe Maddon said. "The days off (after Games 2, 4 and 5) help you. But if the bad game occurs on the first day before the day off and then there's another game, that could still hurt you in regard to winning the next day."

Though the roster won't be officially announced until this morning, the Rays settled on their 25-man squad Thursday when they opted to make Jackson, rather than Troy Percival, their 11th pitcher and drop Hinkse, who hit 20 homers during the regular season but didn't play in the division series.

"They want to carry an extra pitcher, and I'm the odd man out," Hinske said. "That's how it is. It's something that I can't control. I'll be ready if somebody gets hurt. It's not about me. It's about the team winning ballgames. No personal feelings, none — that I'm going to talk about."

Jackson, whose 14 wins tied a franchise record, was left off the division series roster when the Rays opted for 10 pitchers and 15 position players. The hard-thrower will be used, along with rookie LHP David Price, primarily in long relief or extra innings.

With OF Carl Crawford showing he is healthy, the Rays decided to cut back on the bench and, apparently, that speedy rookie OF Fernando Perez was more versatile and valuable than Hinske.

Speaking in general without confirming the moves, Maddon said it was a tough decision.

"They're all hard," he said. "When you have guys that have played all year with the group and you have to pick and choose at this time of the year to say somebody is on and somebody's off, it's not fun because everybody is responsible for us being at this particular juncture."

PERCY STILL OUT: Percival said he was "disappointed" to not be added to the roster but understood the decision given the two months where, "I wasn't healthy at all."

Percival, 39, who has battled lower back problems, said he felt "awesome" throwing a 35-pitch bullpen session Thursday and "probably … was as good as I've thrown in years."

Maddon agreed, citing his velocity, breaking pitches and overall command.

Percival will continue to work out and said he would be ready if the Rays wanted to activate him for the World Series.

"I'm physically ready now," he said. "They know I'm physically ready now. But the way they've got their bullpen set up, they needed somebody that can throw some more innings."

GOOD TIME DAN: Dan Johnson's tying homer off Red Sox closer Jonathan Papelbon in the 5-4 victory Sept. 9 is a big reason the Rays are here. And Johnson, though not on the active roster, is happy to still be around.

"Obviously it feels good to know you've had a part in this rather than just being a September callup who was just here filling in spots to give people rest," he said. "I'm just waiting in the wings in case something happens; purely precautionary."

MISCELLANY: Crawford will remain in the No. 5 spot in the batting order. … Maddon taped a good luck message to be shown at the Lightning's Saturday home opener. … Evan Longoria and B.J. Upton are the first teammates younger than 25 to have multihomer games in a postseason, according to the Elias Sports Bureau.

Times staff writer Dave Scheiber contributed to this report.

Rays put Jackson on ALCS roster, take Hinske off 10/09/08 [Last modified: Wednesday, October 15, 2008 7:40am]
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