03/05/08 11:15 AM ET
Percival ready to make spring debut
Righty reliever has successful workout and will pitch Thursday
By Brittany Ghiroli / MLB.com
"I spoke with him afterwards and he felt great, so he's on task," Maddon said.
Percival did not throw on Wednesday, but he was on hand in the outfield shagging balls during warmups at Al Lang Field. Percival was signed as a free agent to a two-year, $8 million contract on Nov. 30 and is expected to anchor the Rays bullpen. The closer has 324 career saves and is listed fifth among active pitchers.
Maddon said Percival hasn't seen any Spring Training game action to date simply because the veteran doesn't need as many early outings. He knows what works, Maddon said.
Despite a lack of time on the mound, the veteran has been instrumental in helping out some of the younger pitchers.
"Troy, he's going to get on guys," said Brian Anderson, who refers to Percival as the club policeman. "A lot of these guys haven't pitched through the grind of a [Major League] season."
A four time All-Star, Percival's numbers are impressive.
Right-handed opponents have batted .175 off him, while lefties have only fared slightly better at .197. Currently in his 13th year in the Majors, Percival is one of four pitchers to record seven straight 30-save seasons.
Maddon expects Percival to throw an inning or two as the Rays travel to Clearwater, Fla., for the first of two straight games against the Phillies. Thursday's matchup will be at Bright House Networks Field with a 1:05 ET start.
Brittany Ghiroli is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.