Rays Report
Scott Kazmir will start on Wednesday.
Scott Kazmir will start on Wednesday.

Posted Jul 2, 2008


The Rays won another game on Tuesday but lost closer Troy Percival, who ended up on the 15-day disabled list because of his left hamstring strain.

The Rays won another game on Tuesday but lost closer Troy Percival, who ended up on the 15-day disabled list because of his left hamstring strain.

With Percival out, the Rays will return to a closer-by-committee format. Dan Wheeler, Trever Miller, Grant Balfour and J.P. Howell all are candidates to get the final out.

Balfour did so Tuesday, picking up his second save of the season.

"It's just the way it is, and we just have to try to make it work somehow," manager Joe Maddon said. "But I do have a lot of confidence in a lot of different guys to get the last out."

Percival was removed from Monday's game when it became apparent the hamstring was again a problem. He was on the DL May 29-June 13 with the same problem and admitted it has bothered him since spring training and isn't getting better. He will have three extra days of rest during the All-Star break and will be eligible to return shortly after that.

The Rays are calling up right-hander Mitch Talbot, who will make his major league debut in long relief, and moving right-hander Jason Hammel to a more significant bullpen role.

But they might need only short-term help -- reliever Al Reyes could come off the DL early next week.

RAYS 3, RED SOX 1: C Dioner Navarro knocked in two runs with a pair of two-out singles, Matt Garza had another strong outing and Grant Balfour earned the save as the Rays extended their AL East lead to 2 1/2 games.

--RHP Mitch Talbot is being called up from Class AAA Durham to work in long relief, and RHP Jason Hammel will get a more significant bullpen role while RHP Troy Percival is on the DL. Talbot, 24, was 7-6 with a 4.41 ERA in 17 starts for the Bulls.

--LF Carl Crawford, after a hot stretch following his return from suspension, is in an 0-for-17 slump.

--2B Akinori Iwamura rejoined the lineup and was back in the leadoff spot after completing his three-game suspension.

--RHP Matt Garza has responded well to the Rays' request to keep his emotions under control. In four starts since his June 8 confrontations with C Dioner Navarro, Garza is 3-1 with a 1.55 ERA. "It's fun to watch," manager Joe Maddon said.

--Manager Joe Maddon has been suggesting that three Rays -- C Dioner Navarro and LHPs J.P. Howell and Scott Kazmir -- should be candidates for the American League All-Star team, but now he's pushing for a fourth, RHP Dan Wheeler. "Danny's been solid, his numbers are fantastic (2-3, 1.88 ERA, two saves), he's been really consistent," Maddon said.

BY THE NUMBERS: 15 -- Pitches in June 28 at-bat off Pittsburgh's Damaso Marte by Jonny Gomes, who hit a pinch-hit homer.

QUOTE TO NOTE: "They're not going to go away, we know that. They know we're not going away -- or they should. If they don't, shame on them." -- Rays reliever Trever Miller, on the Red Sox.


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