The Rays closer for most of the 2008 season, Troy Percival, is set to have surgery today on his back, which was nagging him for most of the season. Percival is expected to be ready for opening day 2009 if the surgery and rehabilitation goes well. Signed to a 2 year $4 million dollar contract, Percival pitched in 50 games and posted 28 saves and only blown 4. He also had three stints on the D.L.
For the 2009 season, Troy Percival will be the closer if he is ready, but the Rays may consider signing another reliever if they don't believe he can close all year. There are also internal options for the closing position: Dan Wheeler, Grant Balfour, J.P. Howell, or Jeff Niemann.