Oakland Athletics closer Grant Balfour underwent arthroscopic surgery on his right knee less than two weeks ago, but the right-hander is ahead of his recovery schedule and is on track to return by Opening Day, according to Jane Lee of MLB.com.
Balfour performed a round of flat-ground throwing yesterday morning and is hoping to log a bullpen session within the next week. He told reporters that while his "leg has a little bit further to come," his "arm feels great."
Balfour logged roughly 30 throws during his flat-ground session. He'll complete another before he's evaluated to see when he can return to the mound.
If he's able to continue at his current pace, Balfour should be able to make his spring debut in the Cactus League in roughly two or three weeks, according to Lee. This would allow the right-hander plenty of time to make several appearances and gear up for the start of the regular season.
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Oakland has said that they're not interested in rushing Balfour back, but it sounds like they should have their veteran closer when they break camp.
Balfour signed with the A's as a free agent last offseason. He went on to appear in 75 games for Oakland, posting a 2.53 ERA with 24 saves. The 35-year-old owns a career ERA of 3.38 with a strikeout-to-walk ratio of 2.46.