Balfour "really, really happy" with outing; Cobb, Peralta pleased, too
After feeling flat and a bit of "dead arm" in his last outing Saturday, Rays RHP Grant Balfour felt markedly better after throwing 15 pitches in a minor-league game against the Orioles on Wednesday in Port Charlotte.
"I felt really good, felt strong,'' Balfour said. "I'm really, really happy with how it went."
Balfour received some treatment on his arm and got an extra day's rest, and said the results were significant. He also made a decision to ramp up his focus and intensity a bit and said that also helped as well.
Rays RHP Joel Peralta followed Balfour with a solid 13-pitching inning, his first time back on the mound after leaving Saturday's game with a stiff neck. And No. 2 starter RHP Alex Cobb threw 68 pitches (46 strikes) over four-plus innings in another minor-league game.
Balfour said he was pleased with his velocity - consitently in the low 90s while "throwing into a headwind" - and that his fastball had "good late life, which is a really good sign" and that his breaking ball had tight break.
Balfour faced three batters, allowing one hit, striking out one, with nine strikes among his 15 pitches.
"I wanted to feel good and I also wanted to try to zero in and focus a bit more, and I felt like I accomplished that,'' he said.
Peralta, who also got an extra day off, said he felt good. Actually, better than that, and with no issues from the neck.
"It felt great,'' he said. "Actually, this is best I've felt the whole spring, today.''
Peralta allowed a home run of his 13 pitches, with 10 strikes. He actually had 11, but the third-base ump changed one it to a ball because he felt Peralta quick-pitched the Baltimore hitter, a tactic Peralta uses occasionally in the majors.
Peralta smiled and laughed at the ump's decision, and said when he inquired the ump said the hitter wasn't ready - although he was in the box - and apparently neither was the home-plate ump.
"I told him I do that a lot in the bigs and they never call it,'' Peralta said. "He said, he wasn't ready. I said, he was in the box.''
Cobb pitched in Port Charlotte to avoid facing the Blue Jays for a second consecutive time this spring especially since he will face them in the opening series of the season, and said he got in the work he needed to.
"That's about what you take away from those kind of outings,'' he said. "You got up five times, you got your pitches in. And you know what was good about today was it's tough to really focus on those back fields. For some reason you have those type of games during the course of a season so it was good practice to really focus in and have total body awareness and mental focus out there.''
Cobb allowed three hits and two runs (one earned) while walking two and striking out four.