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Delay of game on the pitcher

Troy Percival has done it hundreds of times without incident. Before his first pitch, the Anaheim Angels closer focuses by performing a ritual in which he crouches behind the mound for several seconds, focusing on a single blade of grass.

Percival, who got his seventh save in Tuesday's win over the Orioles, violated the new delay-of-game rules when he did not deliver his first pitch of the ninth to Eric Davis within the required 12 seconds.

He was charged with a ball, prompting an argument from manager Terry Collins and strong words from Percival.

"That had to be orchestrated by the Orioles, I don't know," Percival said. "There's supposed to be 20 seconds from the time they announce his name. It wasn't even close to 20 seconds. That is the sign of a team that's struggling.

"This is baseball _ that's ridiculous trying to take advantage of a stupid little rule."

The 20-second rule cited by Percival was in place until this season, when the limit for throwing the first pitch to a batter was reduced to 12 seconds.

Orioles manager Ray Miller denied having a hand in the incident. "If he's a little irked, he ought to have enough (guts) to throw the ball over the plate," said Miller, whose team has lost 10 of 13. "This guy warms up nervous as hell, walks around the mound, says prayers, bows behind the mound, looks over the centerfield fence and everything else."

Collins said a decision will be made Friday on whether to put Tim Salmon (strained ligament in left foot) on the DL.

BLUE JAYS: Jose Cruz has not had an extra-base hit since Opening Day.

ORIOLES: Reliever Norm Charlton broke his nose when he deflected a ball hit by Chicago's Frank Thomas into his face. Charlton's pitch was batted back at the mound, and the left-hander threw up his glove in self-defense. The ball deflected off the glove into his face. "I really didn't swing that hard," Thomas said. "Thank goodness it wasn't a full swing," Charlton said. "I reached up and I felt around and I could feel a crunching so then I figured it was broken." Joe Carter was scratched because of tightness in his right quadriceps.

RED SOX: Reliever Rich Garces is eligible to return from a rehab assignment with Pawtucket.

TIGERS: C Raul Casanova was put on the DL with a right abdominal strain. C Paul Bako was called up. Brian Hunter's two-run homer Tuesday was the team's first with a man on since Luis Gonzalez's two-run shot in the opener March 31 at Tampa Bay.

YANKEES: Reliever Graeme Lloyd has inflammation in his shoulder and is day-to-day.

_ TIMES WIRES

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