07/20/08 2:14 PM ET
Rays activate closer Percival
Right-hander Glover placed on disabled list with left calf strain
By Brittany Ghiroli / MLB.com
Percival is returning from the DL for the second time this season, as he has been plagued with a nagging left hamstring problem.
A four-time All-Star, Percival has made it no secret that he loathed watching games from the bench. Still, on Sunday afternoon, the closer did say that the team's doctors went about his rehab "the right way" by also concentrating on treating his back, the origin of most of the discomfort.
"My leg feels as normal as it can feel," Percival said. "Can I go out and give you a guarantee that something else isn't going to go or that's going to go? I wouldn't do that. But it feels 10 times better than the last time coming off the DL."
Opponents are batting just .160 off Percival, who has posted a team-leading 19 saves and provides a crucial veteran presence to the young team.
"He's been champing at the bit [to come back] -- he's been driving me nuts," manager Joe Maddon said with a smile. "He looked really good the other day. Throwing the ball, he's been great. The biggest concern is movement on the mound -- even more than bunts, covering first base -- and he did a nice job."
Prior to Saturday's game, Percival spent time throwing in the bullpen and practicing covering first base under Maddon's vigilant eye.
"I'm watching him real closely, because I know how much he wants to pitch, and he's going to say different things," Maddon said. "I truly believe he feels better than the last couple times we went through this."
With Percival back in the ninth-inning role, the front end of the Rays' bullpen will become even stronger, with righty Grant Balfour (2-1, 1.54 ERA) and lefty J.P. Howell (6-0, 2.64) switching into middle-relief roles.
Dan Wheeler and Trever Miller will also be relied upon earlier in games and will join Balfour and Howell to provide a strong bridge from the starting rotation to Percival.
And with the addition of right-hander Al Reyes -- who was activated from the DL on Friday -- the bullpen now expects to be running close to full throttle.
Glover will be going on the DL (retroactive to July 11) for the first time this season with an injury suffered against the Indians on July 10.
Although the right-hander was knocked around for six hits and seven runs in just two-thirds of an inning in that game, Glover didn't make excuses.
"That was nothing but not making pitches," he said. "I'm fully responsible for that day, with the outcome of that game. It was just something where I don't want it to jeopardize anything with my arm. That's my livelihood. So I'll just use this time to get everything 100 percent."
Glover said his left calf has been stiff since then and "real tender" when throwing off a mound.
In 29 appearances, he is 1-2 with a 5.82 ERA.
Brittany Ghiroli is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.