Reliever Grant Balfour returns to Tampa Bay Rays

the thanks-mas lineup: Rays manager Joe Maddon shops at a Tampa Sweetbay for his Thanks-mas project that provides Italian holiday meals for the needy at Salvation Army shelters — today at 5 in St. Petersburg (740 Lafayette St. N), Tuesday in Bradenton (1204 14th St. W), Wednesday in St. Petersburg (1400 Fourth St. S) and Thursday in Tampa (1603 N Florida Ave.).

Tampa Bay Rays

the thanks-mas lineup: Rays manager Joe Maddon shops at a Tampa Sweetbay for his Thanks-mas project that provides Italian holiday meals for the needy at Salvation Army shelters — today at 5 in St. Petersburg (740 Lafayette St. N), Tuesday in Bradenton (1204 14th St. W), Wednesday in St. Petersburg (1400 Fourth St. S) and Thursday in Tampa (1603 N Florida Ave.).

ST. PETERSBURG — The Rays crossed another potential arbitration case off their list Sunday, agreeing to a one-year deal with reliever Grant Balfour for $2.05 million.

Balfour made $1.4 million last season, going 5-4, 4.81 in 73 appearances.

Over the last week, the Rays have committed $11.2 million to their bullpen in signing Rafael Soriano, Lance Cormier, Randy Choate and Balfour, with Dan Wheeler under contract for $3.5 million and J.P. Howell eligible for arbitration.

That gives them a solid six, with a slot for a long man, but they are open to adding another arm. Expect them to check into some nontendered relievers such as Matt Capps and Mike MacDougal, and to explore other options.

With Balfour signed, five Rays remain eligible for arbitration heading to the January filing and exchange of figures: Jason Bartlett, Matt Garza, Howell, Kelly Shoppach and B.J. Upton.

Blue Jays: Former Ray Joey Gathright signed a minor-league contract, and utility player Jose Bautista ($2.4 million) and right-hander Dustin McGowan ($500,000) agreed to one-year deals. McGowan missed 2009 after right shoulder surgery.

Indians: Right-handers Anthony Reyes and Adam Miller signed minor-league contracts.

Information from Times wires was used in this report.

Reliever Grant Balfour returns to Tampa Bay Rays 12/13/09 [Last modified: Sunday, December 13, 2009 9:37pm]

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