Make us your home page

Get the quickest, smartest news, analysis and photos from the Bucs game emailed to you shortly after the final whistle.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Rays' Grant Balfour feels good as season approaches

“I feel really good about what I’ve got going into the season,” closer Grant Balfour says.


“I feel really good about what I’ve got going into the season,” closer Grant Balfour says.

PORT CHARLOTTE — RHP Grant Balfour was upset in December when a two-year deal with the Orioles was nixed due to their concerns over his physical.

But Balfour, who ended up with a two-year, $12 million deal to be the Rays' closer, said he wasn't any more emotional than usual facing Baltimore on Wednesday.

"Just a little more fuel for me," he said.

More important, Balfour was happy with how he threw — and felt — in allowing just an infield hit in a scoreless inning during his second-to-last outing of the spring.

"I feel like my arsenal is there, and I feel really good about what I've got going into the season," Balfour said.

Though Balfour's fastball has been at just 90-92 mph this spring, he said that's normal and it typically builds throughout the season.

"I know it's coming," Balfour said. "Even at where it's at right now, it's live, and that's a good sign. One year I started the year throwing 90-92 and I ended up throwing 97 in the last game. The arm builds up as it goes along."

LOWE DOWN: Veteran RHP Mark Lowe was granted his release from the Rays, saying though he was disappointed he didn't make the bullpen, there's "no hard feelings" and he'd be open to a return.

Lowe, 30, told Tuesday that he wasn't in the Rays' plans, said he has already been in contact with a number of teams, hoping to land on an opening-day roster. If no big-league opportunity comes up, he said he'd consider coming back to the Rays to pitch at Triple-A Durham because he respected the Rays for letting him go a couple of days before Friday's opt-out date of his deal.

"They're definitely at the top of my list," Lowe said. "I don't think that going to Triple A is a fun thing to think absolutely, but that's a realistic possibility. And I see no reason why not."

Lowe believed he had the best spring of his career, allowing one earned run over 101/3 innings, but he wasn't shocked he didn't make the Rays.

"I knew there was a pretty packed house in the bullpen, and it's just the way it goes," Lowe said. "I couldn't have done anything different; that's basically what they told me."

PRICE CHECK: Maddon said LHP David Price was "outstanding" in allowing three runs on five hits in four innings in his final tuneup before his opening-day start. Price, who struck out five and walked one in a 73-pitch outing, said he has never felt this good physically entering a season. Said Price: "That was hands down the most productive spring that I've have, mentally, physically."

GAME DETAILS: Ex-Ray Delmon Young, who is likely to make the Orioles' opening-day roster, continued to hurt his former team, picking up two hits and knocking in two runs in a 4-4 tie. "Delmon's been wearing the ball out all spring," Price said. … Wil Myers made a nice diving catch in the third inning. He was pinch-run for after getting hit in the leg by a pitch in the seventh but is okay. … 1B James Loney had another three hits, and LF Matt Joyce, batting leadoff, got two. RHPs Brandon Gomes and Juan Carlos Oviedo each pitched a scoreless inning.

WITH HONORS: Myers will be honored as the 2013 American League rookie of the year in a pregame presentation at Tropicana Field on April 5.

Rays' Grant Balfour feels good as season approaches 03/26/14 [Last modified: Wednesday, March 26, 2014 11:19pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Peter Budaj, Lightning lose to Devils in shootout; Nikita Kucherov scores

    Lightning Strikes

    NEWARK, N.J. — For Peter Budaj, Tuesday's season debut had a shaky start.

    The Lightning’s Vladislav Namestnikov, right, battles Damon Severson for the puck.
  2. Lightning's Steve Yzerman enjoying Nikita Kucherov's scoring run

    Lightning Strikes

    NEWARK, N.J. — If anyone knows what it is like to be as hot as Nikita Kucherov is right now, it's Lightning general manager Steve Yzerman.

    Tampa Bay Lightning right wing Nikita Kucherov, of Russia, celebrates after scoring a goal on the New Jersey Devils during the second period of an NHL hockey game, Tuesday, Oct. 17, 2017, in Newark, N.J. (AP Photo/Julio Cortez)
  3. Bucs journal: Offense needs to get off to a faster start


    TAMPA — The past two games have seen the Bucs offense muster furious rallies in the fourth quarter of losses, with 229 yards against the Patriots and a franchise-record 27 points against the Cardinals.

    Tampa Bay Buccaneers head coach Dirk Koetter walks the field before an NFL game between the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Arizona Cardinals at University of Phoenix Stadium in Glendale, Ariz., on Sunday, Oct. 15, 2017.
  4. NFL players, owners hold 'constructive' talks on issues


    NEW YORK — NFL players and owners met Tuesday to discuss social issues, a session Miami Dolphins owner Stephen Ross called "constructive" and Colts defensive back Darius Butler termed "positive."

    A coalition of advocacy groups 'take a knee' outside of a hotel where members the quarterly NFL league meetings are being held on Tuesday in New York City.  Owners, players and commissioner Roger Goodell are all expected to attend. The activists spoke of having solidarity with athletes and coaches around the country who have also kneeled in protest of racial injustice, especially in policing.
 [Getty Images]
  5. Lightning's Steve Yzerman: Nikita Kucherov 'wants to be great'


    If anyone knows what it is like to be as hot as Nikita Kucherov is right now, it's Lightning general manager Steve Yzerman.

    Nikita Kucherov joined Steve Yzerman, Mario Lemieux and Keith Tkachuk as the only players in the last 30 years to score a goal in each of his team's first six games.