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 NEW YORK (AP) -Almost two years after he retired, Troy Percival returned to the big leagues.
The St. Louis Cardinals called up the former All-Star closer on Tuesday, hoping he can help a bullpen that has struggled this season.
The 37-year-old Percival, 12th on the career saves list with 324, left the majors because of persistent soreness in his right shoulder. His final outing was with Detroit on July 9, 2005, when he gave up a game-ending home run to Tampa Bay's Jonny Gomes.
``It feels like it's always felt,'' Percival said before Tuesday night's game against the New York Mets. ``It's good to be back. It feels like I never skipped a beat.''
Percival signed a minor league contract with the Cardinals on June 8. He appeared in six games for Triple-A Memphis and had a 1.35 ERA in 6 2-3 innings.
Manager Tony La Russa said Percival is ready to go.
``He's going to be a short-spurt type,'' La Russa said. ``We won't stretch him out much unless we're just trying to get him some work.''
The first 10 years of the right-hander's career were spent with the Angels, and the hard thrower closed out their World Series championship in 2002. He pitched for Detroit in his final season and served as a scout with the Tigers last year.
The Cardinals have been below .500 for most of the season, a year after winning the World Series. Several members of their starting rotation have been hurt and their bullpen is 11th in the National League with a 4.13 ERA.
To make room for Percival, the Cardinals sent right-handed reliever Andy Cavazos to Triple-A Memphis. Cavazos was 0-0 in seven games, allowing seven runs and 11 hits in 11 innings for a 5.79 ERA.
Percival, who received a $100,000 bonus when he signed his minor league contract, gets a $500,000 base salary with the Cardinals. He can earn up to $1.2 million in performance bonus based on games, getting the full amount if he pitches in 30. He also would get an additional $500,000 if he finishes 30 games.
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