A’s Balfour stands tall post surgery, starts rehab

PHOENIX – You always hear about this athlete or that athlete being a standup guy.

That was seldom more true than in the case of A’s reliever Grant Balfour, who was standing up without evident pain or discomfort Friday morning in the A’s clubhouse a day after having arthroscopic surgery on his right knee.

The Oakland closer was able to stand for the duration of a 10-minute question-and-answer session with the A’s media after he’d already been doing rehab work following Thursday’s surgery to a torn meniscus in his right knee.

Equally impressive was the fact that he left the interview to go back in the trainers’ room for more work on his knee.

The A’s veteran closer even said he could have pitched on the knee without surgery, but what would have made it difficult was all the bending and twisting that a knee takes during the course of a normal game.

“There are a lot of sharp turns,’’ he said in explaining why the surgery had to take place. “You have to do that in baseball.’’

Balfour said he didn’t want to take too many days away from throwing, so he’s going to try to keep throwing even while recovering from surgery.

“I’m going to figure out a way to throw, someway, somehow,’’ he said.

Outfielder Josh Reddick, in town a day ahead of the Saturday reporting date for position players, said he took the news hard Thursday when he heard about Balfour’s surgery.

“I just found out yesterday about Grant,’’ Reddick said. “It was devastating news. But the good news is he caught it early.

“As important as he is on the field in the ninth inning, his presence in the clubhouse is just as important. I’m glad we won’t be missing him long.’’

John Hickey

A longtime baseball writer three years into in his second go-round covering to the Oakland A's beat after a dozen years covering the Seattle Mariners. Covered the A's through the late 1980s and 1990s.