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Rehabbing Balfour trying for quick return to closer’s job

PHOENIX – A’s closer Grant Balfour, who is doing extensive rehab work in an effort to come back quickly from a mid-February knee surgery, needs to have somebody keep an eye on him.

At least that’s the opinion of A’s manager Bob Melvin, who said Balfour is coming along quickly but wants to pick up the pace. He had some meniscus removed from his right knee, an operation that should leave him ready to go.

   “He’s ahead of what we originally anticipated,’’ Melvin said, “I saw him yesterday trying to sneak into one of the drills. For us, it is more trying to keep him out of things.’’

The Mariners got a four- to six-week prognosis on Balfour, which would have him ready to pitch in the waning days of spring training and which would make it possible for him to be ready to pitch opening day.

John Hickey

Returning to the Oakland A's beat after a dozen years covering the Seattle Mariners. Covered the A's through the late 1980s and 1990s.