A's Balfour returns to action

03/19/2013 12:00 AM

03/19/2013 8:08 AM

PHOENIX – Grant Balfour isn't much of a fan of pitching in minor-league games – almost no veteran pitchers are.

But the A's closer was happy to get through Monday's Triple-A game against the Milwaukee Brewers because it was his first action since he had arthroscopic surgery on his right knee Feb. 14.

He started, threw an inning and left feeling no pain in the knee. He gave up two runs during his 17-pitch outing.

"It was kind of what I expected," Balfour said. "The good thing is I'm not feeling anything in my knee."

The A's plan to have Balfour pitch in five games to make sure he's ready for the season opener April 1 against Seattle.

In a 6-5 loss to the Mariners in Phoenix, A's starter A.J. Griffin threw four shutout innings before allowing five runs in the next two innings. His spring ERA rose to 5.23 covering three starts and 10 1/3 innings.

"It went all right. I don't want to make excuses," Griffin said.

Cardinals – Chris Carpenter realizes his career may be over.

The 37-year-old right-hander said he's still dealing with numbing and tingling sensations in his pitching hand, arm and shoulder.

"I'm not going to have surgery anymore," Carpenter said. "I just don't see it getting better, to be honest with you."

Asked if he wanted to continue pitching, Carpenter said, "I do. I just don't think I can."

Dodgers – It appears Zack Greinke's first regular-season start for Los Angeles will be delayed by at least a few days.

The Dodgers said the right-hander felt strong one day after his first bullpen session since receiving an injection to treat inflammation in his right elbow.

Grienke has appeared in only two spring games totaling five innings. If he has enough arm strength, he is on track for a regular-season debut April 5 against Pittsburgh instead of April 2 against the Giants.

Padres – Third baseman Chase Headley will miss at least the first two weeks of the season after breaking the tip of his left thumb Sunday while sliding into second base trying to break up a double play against the Los Angeles Angels.

The injury likely won't require surgery but will need about a month to heal.

Red Sox – Designated hitter David Ortiz canceled a batting practice session because of pain in his heels that has sidelined him for nine days.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.


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