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Rays bullpen dealing without Percival

Rays bullpen dealing without Percival

ARLINGTON -- Consistent with the whole season, the Rays will have to deal with a shuffled mix in the bullpen now that closer Troy Percival is on the 15-day disabled list with a cartilage injury to his right knee.

"Our wagons have been circled all year, with Percival or without Percival, especially being in first place," left-handed reliever Trever Miller said. "You've got everyone trying to knock us off our perch, knock us off the trail, if you will. So that's what we're going to do: bring in reinforcements and hope they get the job done."

Right-hander Juan Salas was recalled from Triple-A Durham to replace Percival and help pick up the slack.

"Salas is pitching well," said Andrew Friedman, Rays executive vice president of baseball operations. "His ball is really moving. We've used him in a role where he's gone more than an inning at times to give us some help up here just looking ahead. We thought that might be a role where we'd want to use him. Where he can get four or five or six outs, that's what he's been doing and he's been doing a very good job of that."

Percival believes the bullpen will be fine.

"I'm the easiest guy to replace at this point," said Percival, who pointed out that the only problem with him being out is that the Rays will have to use one of the players used to build the bridge to the closer's spot as the closer. "[So] you don't have them available to get you out of those tough spots.

"To be able to go out there and close -- what's there going to be, three or four opportunities in those couple of weeks? That's what it's been for me all year. If they get all but one, great, we'll be fine."

Rays manager Joe Maddon said he will not "ordain" a closer during Percival's absence and he will mix and match as necessary. But the general opinion is that Grant Balfour will get most of the opportunities.

"He's got better stuff than I do," Percival said. "Just sometimes you have to let your ego go and pitch to the situation. And I'll be talking to him about it."

Pitching matchup
TB: RHP Edwin Jackson (9-7, 4.07 ERA)
Jackson picked up his ninth win of the season on Sunday in Seattle when he held the Mariners to one run on seven hits in seven innings of work. The 24-year-old right-hander has shown marked improvement from the 2007 season when he had a 3-11 mark on the same date as Sunday's win. If Jackson is locating his 97-mph fastball, his other pitches can work well, particularly his slider. Jackson is 1-1 with a 3.74 ERA in three career starts against the Rangers.

TEX: LHP Matt Harrison (4-2, 7.07 ERA)
How do you allow six runs and coast to victory? Get 12 runs of support. That's what happened to Harrison his last time out, when he allowed six runs on 10 hits and two walks in five innings against the Orioles. He also gave up two home runs, didn't record a single strikeout in the start, and saw his ERA rise from 6.46 to 7.07. Harrison will go for his third straight victory against the American League East on Friday, when the Rays come to Texas. It will be his first game against Tampa Bay.

Tidbits
Thursday's win over the A's gave Maddon his 200th win as the Rays manager, which tied him with Lou Piniella for second place on the all-time list behind the team's inaugural manager, Larry Rothschild. ... Akinori Iwamura's first-inning single on Friday meant he has hit safely in 13 of his last 15 games. ... Beginning with Friday's game, 31 of the Rays' final 42 games are against teams with records of .500 or better.

Tickets
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On the Internet
 MLB.TV
 Gameday Audio
•  Gameday
•  Official game notes

On television
• FSN

On radio
• WHNZ 1250, WGES 680 (Español)

Up next
• Sunday: Rays (Scott Kazmir, 8-6, 3.22) at Rangers (Vicente Padilla, 12-6, 4.85), 8:05 p.m. ET
• Monday: Rays (Andy Sonnanstine, 12-6, 4.35) vs. Angels (Jon Garland, 11-7, 4.26), 7:10 p.m. ET
• Tuesday: Rays (James Shields, 10-7, 3.75) vs. Angels (Ervin Santana, 13-5, 3.49), 7:10 p.m. ET

Bill Chastain is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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