Balfour out as Rays closer
ST. PETERSBURG - RHP Grant Balfour is no longer the Rays’ closer, manager Joe Maddon said this morning.
“We’re going to go by committee right now,” Maddon said before today’s 1:10 p.m. game against the Mariners.
Balfour (0-2, 6.46 ERA) entered the ninth in a scoreless game Sunday but gave up five runs – the second time he’s allowed that many in an appearance this season. Maddon met with Balfour in earlier this morning in a closed-door meeting and said Balfour took the news well.
Balfour said his fastball felt good – better than it had recently – which made Sunday’s result even more frustrating. He was one strike away from striking out the side against the Mariners before giving up a single to Brad Miller that started the collapse.
“It’s that close from being a non-issue,” Balfour said.
Maddon doesn’t plan to appoint a new closer and said those duties will be spread throughout the bullpen, based on the matchup and opponent. He expects Balfour to rebound and could get in closer situations later in the season.
“Something’s not clicking right now,” Maddon said.