Troy Percival, after 3 different names on the same team, one diaper-wearing simian, one team change, one exploded forearm, and many, many ballpark hotdogs, is finally hanging up his cleats. Despite the strange claims that he was feeling up to trying to be a starter this season if he couldn’t snag the closing spot, I think we were all expecting this.
It’s not 110% certain, and he says he would come back if there was some sort of miraculous improvement before the season started, but that just doesn’t seem at all likely. In fact, his locker in Lakeland was cleared out the other day, which appears pretty final to me.
He’s been in a lot of pain and was willing to play through it, but this spring it became evident that he simply could not pitch at the level to which he had become accustomed, regardless of the pain.
“I’ve been in pain every day,” Percival said. “It’s just the level of pain, whether you can deal with it or not. Changing my mechanics to do what I was doing out there, I can get by. But I can’t throw the way that I’m accustomed to throwing, which is three-quarters, getting my arm away from my head. Right now, I’m forced to short-arm. I tried a few times to get my arm away from my head today and it was just not possible.”
Again, not surprising. I was more surprised that he was honestly going to attempt a comeback this season. The kind of injury he had was not a little tweak, or something nonessential… he had shredded the muscles of his forearm, the muscles that, if they fail to provide support, can leave your UCL high and dry and busted. In a young guy just starting his career, maybe you try to fix that; patch up the muscles somehow, do the Tommy John on the ligament if it starts to go. But after 11 years in the majors, 15 years as a pro (minor league career included), at the age of 36, it’s just not worth it for Percival to even make the attempt, nor is there any guarantee that the amount of damage (both accumulated and acute) in his arm can even at this point be repaired.
The Tigers aren’t exactly caught by surprise here, as they’ve got good ol’ Walrus Face, aka Todd Jones, lined up for the closer’s spot anyhow. Percival will ultimately be remembered as a
California Anaheim Los Angelos Rally Monkey Angel, and rightly so. He didn’t do much of anything in Detriot, what with the arm explosion and all, but we did appreciate the readiness with which he signed here, and the way he acted like Detroit was a Real Honest to Gosh Baseball Team, instead of somewhere aging overpriced free agents went to die (true though that may be).
So we’ll tip our hats to him and wish him good luck in his retirement. So long Percy, and thanks for all the fish. Er. Or something.