Taking a step away from looking at spring training from the perspective of the Baltimore Orioles for just a moment, I was interested yesterday when I came across this piece from CBS Sports about Grant Balfour. Balfour complained last week of feeling like he was suffering from a dead arm period, and was given a few days’ rest by Tampa manager, Joe Maddon. In fairness, this headline might be a bit misleading in that Balfour said his arm felt great after his last outing. However at the time of his “dead arm” situation, Balfour had a whooping 19.29 ERA. That’s a far cry from what the Orioles were looking for from a closer.
Balfour’s ERA isn’t really of concern to anyone in the Orioles’ camp, however the fact that he went through a dead arm period raises an
eyebrow or two. You’ll remember that Balfour ceremoniously had his would-be contract pulled by the Orioles earlier this year after medical issues were raised on his physical. To their credit, the O’s never spoke publically about the circumstance, although Dr. Koko Eaton (Tampa’s physician) took up for Balfour saying that he was healthy. The story grew legs of it’s own, and it ended up painting the Orioles organization in somewhat of a poor light.
So I have to wonder if this latest news doesn’t make the likes of Dan Duquette feel somewhat vindicated. Obviously the Orioles don’t wish ill upon a player, however the organization was steadfast in it’s belief that Balfour’s health wouldn’t last for the duration of the contract. It seemed that most of the public opinion about the matter was slanted in Balfour’s direction – outside of Baltimore that is.
If the Orioles are smart, they’ll concentrate on their own camp and not worry about Balfour. However this is something that should vindicate the team to a certain extent. It’ll be interesting to see if Balfour goes to the DL at all this year, or if he ends up having any injury problems.