Angels Say Goodbye to Percival

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Times Staff Writer

The Angels and closer Troy Percival parted ways today, the second time in five days the team has decided to replace a World Series hero and free agent with a younger and cheaper replacement.

Percival, 35, earned $7.5 million last season. The Angels will replace him with Francisco Rodriguez, 22, who earned $375,000 last season and is expected to make between $400,000 and $500,000 next season.

Percival, drafted by the Angels as a catcher in 1990 and converted to a pitcher the next year, replaced career save leader Lee Smith as the Angels’ closer in 1996. Percival joined the 300-save club in July and ranks 12th on the all-time list with 316. He has saved at least 30 games in seven consecutive seasons, the only active reliever with such a streak.

Percival, a four-time All-Star, earned the save in Game 7 of the 2002 World Series, as the Angels won their lone championship in their 44-year history.

On Friday, the Angels decided not to retain third baseman Troy Glaus, the most valuable player of the 2002 Series, and handed the position to rookie slugger Dallas McPherson.

Percival posted 33 saves last season and a 2.90 earned-run average, including a 1.69 ERA after sitting out three weeks in June because of a strained right forearm. Rodriguez, an All-Star last season, posted a 1.82 ERA.