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AL East update: Grant Balfour, Mookie Betts, Jonathan Schoop

Grant Balfour was designated for assignment by the Rays, and the club is entirely prepared to eat $7 million.

Reinhold Matay-USA TODAY Sports

Grant Balfour was hoping his second stint with the Rays would be more successful than his first, but the veteran right-handed reliever was designated for assignment on Saturday. Tampa Bay is fully prepared to eat the remainder of his $7 million salary.

Balfour posted a 2-6 record and 4.91 ERA last season to begin a two-year, $12 million deal. He acknowledged he "didn't have the same fastball," according to Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times, and Balfour was surprised after returning to Tampa following a successful stint in Oakland.

AL East News & Rumors 4/19

  • Toronto selected the contract of Jeff Francis, and in the corresponding move optioned Colt Hynes to Triple-A. Francis has struggled over the course of the last three seasons, but Toronto had a spot on the 40-man roster designating Todd Redmond for assignment.
  • Baltimore was not happy with Clay Buchholz's pace on the mound, and changes may be coming. Major League Baseball will begin looking into pace-of-play scenarios later this season.
  • Alex Rodriguez has been surprised by his start to the season, and is notably pleased with how his body feels.
  • Henry Owens has had command trouble early. He was plagued by a big inning, but is it time to panic?

AL Central Standings 4/19

East W L PCT GB
Red Sox 7 4 0.636 -
Orioles 6 5 0.545 1
Blue Jays 6 6 0.500 1.5
Rays 6 6 0.500 1.5
Yankees 5 6 0.455 2