NEW YORK -- Joel Peralta tossed a scoreless eighth inning against the Yankees on Wednesday for his 266th appearance in a Rays uniform, tying Esteban Yan (1998-2002) for the most by a pitcher in club history.
"It means a lot," said Peralta before equaling the appearance mark. "It means consistency. [I've] been part of [something] special, been part of this team for a long time. It's something that I'm proud of and feel good about."
Peralta signed with the Rays prior to the 2011 season after pitching in just 39 games for the Nationals in 2010.
"I just thank God, he was the one who brought me here," Peralta said. "I found a home here. After 3 1/2 months with the Washington Nationals, they didn't sign me back. And [executive vice president of baseball operations] Andrew Friedman and the Rays gave me a shot, and it worked really good."
Rays manager Joe Maddon can't hide the fact that Peralta has been one of his favorites.
"He's been kind of a rock down there," Maddon said. "He's been really steady, and we've put him into a lot of difficult moments against better hitters. Even when we had a typical closer here, he was the guy a lot of times getting the two, three, four hitters out. He's been pitching against the meaty part of the batting orders for a long time.
"And beyond that, the leadership that he provides -- he's a solid fellow, and among the Hispanic players, he's kind of been a beacon for all of these guys. He's there to offer advice. His path to the Major Leagues was not necessarily rosy, he had to work to get here. And I think he has experiences to share. He's done all of that."
Peralta pushes McGee's All-Star credentials
NEW YORK -- If you heard some chirping, it's Joel Peralta touting the merits of fellow Rays reliever Jake McGee for this year's American League All-Star team.
"They better get McGee on that team," Peralta said. "He deserves it more than anybody, probably in the league, the stuff that he's been doing. He deserves to be there, definitely."
With a scoreless inning in the Rays' 2-1 win over the Yankees on Tuesday night, McGee passed Boston's Koji Uehara to take over the ERA lead among AL relievers. His 1.21 ERA is also the second lowest among all Major League lefty relievers behind Pittsburgh's Tony Watson (0.96).
McGee has not allowed a run in his last 12 appearances (10 2/3 innings) and has not allowed a run in his last 24 appearances against AL opponents. During the Rays' recent 13-7 run, he has appeared in nine games and the Rays have won them all.
Peralta spoke about seeing McGee develop at the Major League level.
"I always said that experience is probably your best friend as a pitcher," Peralta said. "And he's got more experience now. He's not just throwing the ball by you up, he's also locating now. ... The more experience he gets he's only going to get better."
Bill Chastain is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.