A's place reliever Balfour on paternity leave


A's place reliever Balfour on paternity leave

June 3, 2011


UPDATE -- 12:30 p.m.: Grant and Angie Balfour welcomed their daughter, Raegan Madison Balfour, into the world at 10:19 pm on June 2, 2011. She weighed in at 6 lbs 10 oz and 20.5 inches long.

Paul Gutierrez

A's right-hander Grant Balfour remained in the Bay Area Thursday for the birth of his daughter. As such, the relief pitcher was placed on the paternity list Friday by Oakland, which also recalled right-hander Fautino De Los Santos from triple-A Sacramento, in time for the opening game of the A's 10-game road trip to Boston, Baltimore and Chicago beginning tonight against the Red Sox.

Balfour, who signed a two-year, 8.1-million free-agent contract with the A's on Jan. 11 after three-plus years in Tampa Bay, has made 25 relief appearances thus far and is 3-1 with one save and a 2.92 ERA. Among American League relievers, he is also tied for third in victories, tied for seventh in strikeouts (28) and tied for 10th in appearances. Opponents are hitting .205 against him, while left-handers are hitting .171, .083 with runners in scoring position.

De Los Santos, meanwhile, was initially called up to the big leagues for the first time in his career on May 20, but did not get into a game before being sent back to the River Cats four days later. In Sacramento, he has made nine appearances without a decision and has a 0.82 ERA with 11 strikeouts and six walks in 11 innings. De Los Santos, who has undergone Tommy John Surgery, has yet to allow a home run this season and opposing batters are hitting .184 against him, with lefties hitting just .067.

Balfour is the second A's player this season to go on the paternity list, as catcher Kurt Suzuki did for the birth of his daughter Malia for two days in late April.

A's starter Paul Blackburn removed from game after being hit by line drive


A's starter Paul Blackburn removed from game after being hit by line drive

A’s starter Paul Blackburn left Tuesday’s start in the fifth inning after a liner struck him on the right wrist.

Blackburn was in obvious pain after the Baltimore Orioles’ Trey Mancini hit the line shot back up the middle to lead off the bottom of the fifth at Camden Yards. The ball hit Blackburn flush, and he exited the field shortly after being visited by team trainer Nick Paparesta.

There was no immediate word from the A’s on the severity of his injury. But it was a very unfortunate turn of events for Oakland’s rookie, who largely has impressed in 10 starts since being called up from the minors. He got through four scoreless innings Tuesday, showing sharp form after giving up 18 hits over his previous two starts.

Simon Castro came on in relief as the A’s led the Orioles 5-0 in the fifth. Ryon Healy has homered twice for Oakland.

Top draft pick is the latest Giant to be sidelined by a concussion


Top draft pick is the latest Giant to be sidelined by a concussion

SAN FRANCISCO -- At this point, the Giants have gotten used to some of the realities of this season. They have been a last-place team for months, and when they were officially eliminated from the National League West on Sunday the response was basically a "long time coming" shrug. 

But some parts of this season still stun team officials, and the continued injuries are at the top of the list. It's not just that players are getting hurt ... it's that key guys are getting hurt at every single level of the organization. The latest to go down is Heliot Ramos, this year's first-round pick. Per general manager Bobby Evans, Ramos suffered a concussion when he was hit by a pitch on Sunday night. 

Ramos was tearing up the Arizona League, hitting .348 with a .404 on-base percentage, six homers, six triples and 11 doubles. The 48 strikeouts in 138 at-bats are a bit of an early concern, but the Giants are not stressing too much over a 17-year-old with a 1.049 OPS in his first professional season. Ramos is expected to miss 7-10 days, which is disappointing because the Giants were hopeful he would get a big taste of postseason action, even if it is just in the rookie league in Arizona. 

The injury continues a stunning trend. Chris Shaw and Bryan Reynolds are the only prospects out of the organization's top seven -- per MLB Pipeline -- who have avoided an injury setback. There is some good news, however, for a couple of those players who have gotten hurt. Austin Slater is 10-14 days from starting a rehab assignment, although he would probably need the San Jose Giants to make their postseason to see significant game action.

Steven Duggar was promoted from San Jose to Triple-A Sacramento on Monday and had a good first night. He's unlikely to be a September call-up because of the injuries, and he's also in the same situation as Shaw and Andrew Suarez as a player who doesn't have to be added to the 40-man roster this offseason. 

--- As for the injured big leaguers: Johnny Cueto (elbow) is scheduled to throw three innings for Sacramento tonight and Joe Panik (concussion) will play five innings. Cueto will make at least one more rehab start. Panik will join San Jose on Wednesday and could return to the big league lineup on the next road trip. 

--- Bochy said Mark Melancon feels good after going back-to-back days. It doesn't sound like he'll return to the ninth inning anytime soon. It's easier to monitor Melancon's pronator strain when he's not the closer and Bochy said the two have talked about that situation. For instance, Matt Cain stayed warm after pitching the seventh on Monday. If Melancon had felt something while warming up for the eighth, Cain would have gone back out there.