Percival aggravated his left hamstring backing up third base in Monday's 5-4 win over the Red Sox, and, despite a memorable mound discussion between the Rays' closer and manager Joe Maddon, Percival had to leave the game with two outs in the ninth inning and the potential tying run on third base.
"We're fighting an uphill battle," Percival said. "We can only tape it so tight. We've been taping it, taping it, taping it. And I'm not getting much better. Finally last night, I can't back up bases. If there's a play at first base, I'm not sure I can get over there. I've had to deal with that until last night. I haven't had to do a whole lot of running.
"Could I go out and pitch? Tape it up and go out and do what I've been doing, which hasn't been real pretty. It's been OK, but it hasn't been pretty."
Though the prospect of losing Percival to the DL was not an attractive one, the Rays have covered in his absence once before this season when he was out for 12 games with the same problem.
"We've just gone through that whole thing and the guys have all risen to the occasion," Maddon said. "I believe there are several guys on the team who can get the last out."
Talbot was 7-6 with a 4.41 ERA in 17 starts at Durham. Maddon said Talbot will begin in the long-relief role that seldom-used right-hander Jason Hammel has filled. Hammel and right-hander Gary Glover will be moved up the relief chain of command accordingly.
"I have been told, just yesterday by [Minor League pitching coordinator] Dave Bosman ... he told me how well Talbot is doing," Maddon said. "I thought it would be a good moment for Mitch and a good moment for Jason also."
Bill Chastain is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.Less