Grant Balfour limps after bullpen session
Grant Balfour says he can already bend his right knee and plans to be ready for Opening Day. (USA TODAY IMAGES)
PHOENIX -- Less than 24 hours after undergoing a lateral meniscectomy on his right knee, A's closer Grant Balfour was in the clubhouse at Phoenix Municipal Stadium working with the training staff.
After a surgery that would probably leave most mere mortals bedridden for a few days, the Australian native took the time to fill in the media on his progress -- and he did so standing up.
Balfour is clearly one tough dude.
"I feel great," Balfour said. "I don't like to give out timeframes, but I'd like to think I am someone that's going to work toward the quicker part. I know I have to take it a little bit slow to start with so it doesn't flare up, but I have no swelling."
Balfour says he can already bend his right knee. He still plans to be ready for Opening Day. He was able to pitch through the pain during the pennant run last season, and the pain subsided in the offseason so he didn't think it was a big deal.
"I kind of mentioned that I was sore in that area," Balfour said. "At the end of the season my IT bands were tight and stuff like that, I never really looked too much into it. I was pitching good, it hurt when I ran, but I cut back on the running here and there."
Instead of running, he worked out on the exercise bike back home in Australia and the soreness went away. He was able to lift weights without it bothering him.
Even the day before his surgery he threw a bullpen session and said that throwing the ball didn't give him any issues. It's the lateral movements like cutting and running to field a ball that gave him trouble. That's when he elected to get the surgery out of the way while it was still early in camp.
He couldn't believe how good he felt even the morning before surgery.
"I was out there playing catch and throwing a side like I was going into a game," Balfour said. "I could have pitched in a game. That's what's crazy about it."
Dr. Doug Freedberg, the doctor who performed the surgery, told Balfour that his knee looked good when he went in there.
"Basically it was that one little spot that he had to shave off and clean it up a little bit," Balfour said.
It's never good to be on the shelf after having surgery, but Balfour threw a career-high 74 2/3 innings last season. The A's were already planning on limiting his workload in the spring. The downtime will keep his arm fresh for when he returns.
"I don't think I was supposed to pitch in a game for two and a half weeks anyways," he said. "If I'm pitching again in four weeks I'll make up for the games I missed here or there."
"I ain't too pretty to watch pitch in spring training anyways," he joked.