Oakland Athletics closer Grant Balfour had arthroscopic surgery on his right knee to repair a torn meniscus.
Dr. Douglas Freedberg operated Thursday. The A’s said recovery time usually is four to six weeks and Balfour decided to have the procedure now with the hope of returning for the start of the season. The injury is considered minor. He said through the team that the knee bothered him late last season but wasn’t considered anything serious and that the knee calmed down during the offseason. So, he went about his regular regimen over the winter.
“I didn’t know what it was other than I was a little sore,” Balfour said in the statement. “Obviously we were in a pennant race so I was going to pitch. ... I was able to work out with very little soreness, so I really wasn’t concerned.”
Balfour, 35, went 3-2 with a 2.53 ERA and 24 saves last season for the AL West champions. He made 75 appearances spanning 74⅔ innings in 2012, his ninth year in the majors. Balfour began the season as the closer, lost the job, then earned it back again down the stretch.
The A’s exercised their $4.5 million contract option for the Australian reliever shortly after the team lost in a five-game AL division series to the Detroit Tigers.
Balfour arrived at spring training earlier this week eager to get started with a pitching staff that is nearly intact from last season. Now, he will prepare to get going on his rehabilitation as soon as possible after the operation.
“I feel good about getting it done now,” Balfour said. “It will allow me to get ready for Game 1 of the season. I knew the way I was feeling I wouldn’t have been able to pitch through it all season long.”
Balfour threw Wednesday and felt something in the knee.
Rockies acquire Brignac
The Colorado Rockies acquired infielder Reid Brignac from the Tampa Bay Rays in exchange for a player to be named later and cash considerations. Brignac bounced around between Triple-A Durham and the Rays last season. He hit .095 in 16 games at the major-league level.
The Rockies also made another move as they placed left-handed pitcher Edwar Cabrera on the 60-day disabled list with a shoulder injury. He spent most of last season in the minors, where he went 11-5 in 21 starts with Double-A Tulsa and Triple-A Colorado Springs.
Twins pick up Perez
The Minnesota Twins signed left-hander Rafael Perez to a minor-league contract with an invite to major-league camp.
Perez pitched just 7⅔ innings out of the bullpen for the Indians last season because of shoulder problems. He had surgery to remove a spur in his shoulder in September. He threw for scouts earlier this week.
The pitching-starved Twins decided to give the 30-year-old a chance. Perez was a very reliable reliever for the Indians in the previous five seasons. He has a 3.64 career ERA in 338 relief appearances.
Cards give GM extension
The St. Louis Cardinals announced a three-year contract extension with General Manager John Mozeliak and exercised the 2014 option for manager Mike Matheny, hoping they will keep the team contending for the World Series. Mozeliak, 44, will be with the Cardinals through 2016. Matheny, in the second year of a two-year contract, is guaranteed through next year. Terms of the deals were not released.