Initially, the Rays figured they had nothing to lose by having reliever Joel Peralta file an appeal to put his eight-game suspension on hold. But upon further reflection, they decided they had nothing to gain and had Peralta drop his appeal Friday and start serving his penance.
The decision, executive vice president Andrew Friedman said, was made for two primary reasons.
They "didn't feel confident" they'd be able to get the term reduced based on precedent. And they were concerned the issue "was kind of weighing on Joel" and could affect his performance.
"The quicker we can get this behind us I think is better for everyone," Friedman said.
Though the Rays are forced to play shorthanded during the suspension, the timing seemed to work out for them as well.
With All-Star outfielder Matt Joyce going on the disabled list, part of a busy day of transactions involving seven players, they were able to recall right-hander Brandon Gomes, who otherwise would have had to spend the required 10 days in the minors after being sent down Monday, to bolster the bullpen.
Plus, Peralta's absence will cover games against the Phillies, Royals and two against the Tigers, but he will be able to return in time (June 30) for the final two against Tigers and then face the division-leading Yankees. Also, doing it this way eliminated the possibility of a posthearing suspension spanning the All-Star break, which would have added four days of inactivity.
"I'm going to do whatever the team wants me to do, and I'm not going to even ask questions or anything," Peralta said. "They want me to do that, that's what's coming down. I'm okay with it."
Peralta was suspended Thursday after umpires, acting at the request of Washington manager Davey Johnson during Tuesday's game, found pine tar inside his glove.
Manager Joe Maddon said it was obvious to him Peralta was affected by the issue when he pitched, and he took the loss Thursday.
"It's probably impacting him or affecting him more than he wants to let on," Maddon said. "So let's just get it over with. Let's just do it right now and not permit it to fester because it's going to happen sooner or later."
Peralta, who is allowed to work out with the team but not stay for the games, said he looks forward to getting the incident behind him.
"They were a really bad three days, man," he said. "I hope these days get over, and I'll try to get my season straightened out and start doing better for this team. That's all that matters."
Maddon said the impact of having only 24 players (and thus a four-man bench) will be felt during this weekend's NL rules games, as he may have to wait later in the game to use a pinch-hitter, and he will consider using a pitcher as a pinch-runner.
"It's a really big issue," Maddon said. "It definitely handicaps what you can do and definitely alters the way you think."
With Peralta out, Maddon said he plans on splitting the eighth-inning duty among right-handers Burke Badenhop and Wade Davis and lefty Jake McGee.
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Down one after transaction actions
With the net result being a reduction to 24 players, the Rays made moves Friday involving seven players, topped by Joel Peralta dropping his appeal.
RHP Joel Peralta..............Serving 8-game suspension
OF Matt Joyce.................Went on 15-day DL (oblique)
INF Drew Sutton.............Designated for assignment
OF Rich Thompson..........Optioned to Triple-A Durham
INF Jeff Keppinger..........Reinstated from DL
RHP Brandon Gomes......Recalled from Triple A
INF Brooks Conrad........Added after waiver claim