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Peralta's longevity with Rays credit to consistency

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NEW YORK -- Joel Peralta tossed a scoreless eighth inning against the Yankees on Wednesday for his 266th appearance in a Rays uniform, tying Esteban Yan (1998-2002) for the most by a pitcher in club history.

"It means a lot," said Peralta before equaling the appearance mark. "It means consistency. [I've] been part of [something] special, been part of this team for a long time. It's something that I'm proud of and feel good about."

Peralta signed with the Rays prior to the 2011 season after pitching in just 39 games for the Nationals in 2010.

"I just thank God, he was the one who brought me here," Peralta said. "I found a home here. After 3 1/2 months with the Washington Nationals, they didn't sign me back. And [executive vice president of baseball operations] Andrew Friedman and the Rays gave me a shot, and it worked really good."

Rays manager Joe Maddon can't hide the fact that Peralta has been one of his favorites.

"He's been kind of a rock down there," Maddon said. "He's been really steady, and we've put him into a lot of difficult moments against better hitters. Even when we had a typical closer here, he was the guy a lot of times getting the two, three, four hitters out. He's been pitching against the meaty part of the batting orders for a long time.

"And beyond that, the leadership that he provides -- he's a solid fellow, and among the Hispanic players, he's kind of been a beacon for all of these guys. He's there to offer advice. His path to the Major Leagues was not necessarily rosy, he had to work to get here. And I think he has experiences to share. He's done all of that."

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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