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Closer Percival Gets Injection for Elbow

June 04, 2004|Bill Shaikin

Angel closer Troy Percival received a cortisone injection Thursday, in the hope that the shot would calm the persistent inflammation in his right elbow enough to enable him to remain off the disabled list.

"I don't think we're going to rule that out," Manager Mike Scioscia said. "Right now, there's still a chance he'll get over this."

According to Percival, an MRI examination showed "there's no tearing of a ligament or anything like that." Dr. Lewis Yocum, the Angels' medical director, said X-rays did not reveal bone spurs or chips but did indicate some calcification within the elbow, consistent with what Percival called "the elbow of a guy that's thrown a bunch of innings."

"Rest might help," Percival added, "and it might not."

An extended stay on the disabled list could herald the end of his distinguished Angel career. The contract of Percival, 34, a four-time All-Star four saves shy of 300, expires after this season. The Angels have groomed Francisco Rodriguez, 22, as their next closer.

For now, although the earned-run average stands at 5.09 for Percival and 0.61 for Rodriguez, and although Percival already has matched his 2003 total by blowing four saves, Scioscia said he has no plans to use Rodriguez as a closer if Percival is available.

"We need the depth Percival brings," Scioscia said. "We're a stronger bullpen with him throwing well and pitching the ninth inning."

Rodriguez said he was aware of the fan clamor for him to replace Percival but said he viewed his current closer stint as a temporary one.

"What people didn't know was Percy is hurt. He's pitching like that because he's a gamer. Fans and people never talk about that," Rodriguez said. "I don't know how long this will be -- a week, or three or four days. When he gets back, he'll be back. In the future, when I get the opportunity to close every day, I'll be ready."

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