Percival won't need surgery to repair right elbow

Updated: September 16, 2005, 11:59 PM ET
Associated Press

ANAHEIM, Calif. -- Troy Percival doesn't need surgery on his right elbow.

The Detroit Tigers' closer got the news from Dr. Lewis Yocum, the Los Angeles Angels' team physician, on Friday night at Angel Stadium.

Troy Percival
Relief Pitcher
Detroit Tigers
26 1 3 11 20 5.76

"He's not going to want to do any surgery," Percival said. "He liked the way the scar tissue looked to be healing. The strength was coming, so I'm basically in a pattern where I can start doing some rehab stuff, some strengthening stuff, and then start throwing in December. Then we'll go from there."

Percival, who turned 36 last month, has been sidelined since July 10 because of a muscle tear in his elbow. The 11-year veteran recorded all but eight of his 324 career saves with the Angels before joining Detroit as a free agent last winter.

"He didn't look at it and say, 'You have to have this cut.' Then I would have known I was done," the four-time All-Star said. "I would have been much happier if he would have looked at it and said, 'That's a miracle. I can't believe it.' But he doesn't know any more than I'll know in December.

"With scar tissue, you don't know how it's going to heal or what's going to happen with it," Percival added. "Dr. Yocum told me, 'Once December comes, you might throw two balls and know you've got no chance. Or you might go out and throw for three weeks and it won't bother you.' But it's not something where it's 100 percent yes, you're going to be there, or 100 percent no."

The Tigers signed Percival to a $12 million, two-year contract in November. He was 1-2 with a 5.76 ERA in 26 appearances this season and had three blown saves in 11 opportunities.

"I knew Dr. Yocum would be honest with me, so that was a good sign," said Percival, who spent his first 10 seasons of pro ball in the Angels' organization and got the final out in the 2002 World Series. "All I can do is hope the arm heals up. Now I get to start lifting weights and doing some rehab, so it's a step in the right direction. But I'm not going to get too optimistic."

Copyright 2005 by The Associated Press