Marc Topkin, of the St. Petersburg Times, reports the Tampa Bay Rays placed closer Troy Percival (knee) on the 15-day disabled list Friday, Aug. 15, with a cartilage injury in his right knee. ESPNews reports he will be out for two to three weeks, and surgery is a possibility.
Percival left the team's game early Thursday, Aug. 14, after trying to field a sacrifice bunt. After the play, he was limping back to the mound. He was checked on by a team trainer and then was taken out of the game.
Relief pitcher Grant Balfour replaced Percival, after the latter suffered the injury, in the ninth inning and allowed a game-tying RBI single to Oakland Athletics designated hitter Frank Thomas.
The extent of Percival's injury is unknown at this time, but news of cartilage damage is never heartwarming, particularly when it's in the knee. The veteran righty has already made two separate trips to the disabled list for hamstring injuries. Percival, 39, is at an age when multiple injuries, no matter how minor they seem, present serious cause for concern, especially for a contender. The club is likely to be extremely cautious on this third go-round on the DL, and as mentioned, he might need to go under the knife.
Any time a closer suffers an injury, fantasy owners must be prepared to react. Balfour might have blown this save chance, but he proved effective as a sub for Percival earlier this season. He's 3-1 with four saves, a 1.21 ERA, a 0.80 WHIP and 55 strikeouts in 37 1/3 innings this year. If he's not owned, he should be, especially given this development.
Reliever Dan Wheeler is the other candidate likeliest to receive save opportunities with Percival out. He's 2-5 with four saves, a 2.61 ERA, a 0.99 WHIP and 34 K's in 51 2/3 innings. He is a decent pickup in deep mixed leagues and shallow versions, especially for owners desperate for saves.
Fantasy owners should hold on to Percival in all formats for now. Until he's definitely scheduled for surgery, there's no need to discard a potential source of saves, especially entering the stretch run.
About Nicholas Minnix
Minnix is baseball editor and a fantasy football analyst at KFFL. He plays in LABR and Tout Wars and won the FSWA Baseball Industry Insiders League in 2010.
The University of Delaware alum is a regular guest on SiriusXM Fantasy Sports Radio and Baltimore's WNST AM 1570.
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