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Troy Percival's career likely over

Aug 10, 2009, 10:20 AM EDT

Via MLB Trade rumors is word that Troy Percival is leaning towards retirement:

RHP Troy Percival hasn’t announced his retirement, but after corresponding with him last week, manager Joe Maddon is under the impression his career is over.

“I think so,” Maddon said . . . Agent Paul Cohen said Sunday that no decision has been made but Percival has been having severe back problems and will see a specialist this week with the possibility of needing a fusion.

I have no idea what “a fusion” really entails, but it doesn’t sound like the sort of thing a 40 year-old pitcher comes back from.

Seeing Percival come back after missing the entire 2006 season was impressive, and the fact that he came back and pitched really really well for the Cardinals and decently enough for the Rays was even more impressive.  He was one of the truly underrated closers during his decade with the Angels and will be missed.

  1. Grant - Aug 10, 2009 at 12:01 PM

    I believe “a fusion” means he will have two vertebrae fused together with screws or metal rods or something. you don’t come back from it.

  2. Steve - Aug 10, 2009 at 1:00 PM

    Grant is pretty much right but I figured I’d throw in my two cents.
    They will typically carve out a portion of the vertebral disc and put a structural spacer in that void. Usually this is accompanied by some sort of bone graft material to induce a “natural” boney fusion of the two vertebrae. Rods or plates are then screwed in place to keep everything from moving while it heals.
    If he really needs a fusion then he is done.
    The alternative the some companies are developing / pedalling are disc replacement devices. Think of it as a fake joint for your back. I could imagine some one pitching again after that surgery, but the history with these devices is limited as they have not been on the market place for that long.

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