Athletics Closer Grant Balfour Out 4-6 Weeks

 The San Francisco Chronicles' Susan Slusser reports from A's camp that team closer Grant Balfour will undergo arthroscopic surgery to clean up a meniscus tear in his right knee.  Balfour is expected to miss 4-6 weeks of action.  There is the possibility of him being ready by Opening Day.  Manager Bob Melvin announced this morning that Ryan Cook and Sean Doolittle both would be available to close games in the event Balfour is not quite ready by the start of the season.

Balfour, 35 and a nine-year veteran, took the role of closer last season for the first time. He saved 24 games for the A's and compiled a microscopic 0.924 WHIP.  A former member of the Twins and Blue Jays, the Australian-born righty made a career-high 75 appearances last season with Oakland, his second with the A's.

Balfour said he felt some knee soreness near the end of last year but it went away during the off-season.  He felt it again yesterday and still threw a full side session, but the A’s sent him for an MRI today just to be on the safe side and that revealed the tear.  “I feel good about getting it done now,” Balfour said in a statement.

 Dr. Doug Freedberg will do the arthroscopic surgery today.

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