Balfour on breaking Eck's record: 'I never set out to do this'
Grant Balfour is exactly halfway to Eric Gagne's major league record of 84 straight saves. (USA TODAY IMAGES)
OAKLAND -- A's closer Grant Balfour, seen as one of the bigger snubs for the upcoming All-Star Game, has not heard anything official regarding his being named as a replacement player to the American League team on Sunday.
Balfour, though, would readily accept an invite, he told CSNCalifornia.com on Friday.
"Sunday, if I hear something, that would be great," said Balfour, who has saved a franchise-record 42 consecutive games, including 24 straight this season.
So, for those of you keeping score at home, Balfour is exactly halfway to Eric Gagne's major league record of 84 straight saves. Gagne, though, did blow a save in the 2003 All-Star Game, which did not count against his streak.
Might Balfour get a save opportunity at CitiField on Tuesday? With New York Yankees closer Mariano Rivera in his farewell season--not likely.
Speaking of the Midsummer Classic and the events preceding it, Yoenis Cespedes is primed for the Home Run Derby.
Cespedes, pitched to by Mike Gallego, put on a show during batting practice Friday. Several of Cespedes' BP homers reached the base of the suite level, with one hitting the window of the suite in section 142 in dead center field.
And while many critics abhor the derby and say it hurts players' swings in the second half of the season, might the opposite actually occur for the slumping Cespedes, who is batting just .176 in July?
"I wouldn't argue that," A's manager Bob Melvin said with a grin. "He's a guy that is a spotlight-type guy, as we've seen since he first got here. I know he's excited about it, and rightly so, and gives us a little bit more exposure, too, because it's a heavily-watched event and if ever there was a guy that's right for it, it's him.
"I think as much as anything you worry about injury."
Still, Melvin said Cespedes has his full blessing to participate, even if he wondered what it would be like to pitch to him in the derby, rather than Gallego.
What, exactly, is Grant Green's role with the A's, having been called up from triple-A Sacramento and making his big league debut Monday in Pittsburgh?
To play second base against left-handed starters.
"BoMel told me when I got here that's going to be the thing and just go out there and have fun and just play," Green said.
"It's been a whirlwind adventure so far. To go from from Fresno to Pittsburgh and back here, it's definitely been fun, that's for sure…the whole experience is just something that's surreal right now."
Green is a combined 0-for-6 with four strikeouts thus far. Is the game at this level faster?
"I don't think it's faster; I've been trying to be quicker," Green said. "It's the same game as it is in the minors, but I have been trying to do a little too much. When I get settled down, I think I'll be fine."
Oh, and yes, that is Green on Twitter -- @GreenieLocks8
Melvin, on infielder Adam Rosales clearing waivers and being outrighted to triple-A Sacramento: "He does love the organization; he wants to be here, so I think he's excited…(he's) not as excited as me, but we're excited for him to still be an A."
Melvin said any rehab plan for left-hander Brett Anderson (right ankle) would not be implemented until he can throw from a mound, though there is no timetable for him that either.
"He's not there yet," Melvin said.
Anderson is, though, playing catch at 105 feet.
Rookie right-hander Sonny Gray's role remains nebulous at best.
"We could potentially use him in any situation," Melvin said.
"I'm not opposed to using him in a plus-game in an important situation…he's a very impressive kid and again, we'll use him in any role."
Gray debuted Wednesday night at Pittsburgh, pitching two innings of relief and faced seven batters, striking out three, allowing one hit and throwing 25 pitches, 18 for strikes, in the A's 5-0 loss.