Balfour unhappy with closer demotion

Balfour unhappy with closer demotion

Balfour unhappy with closer demotion
OAKLAND -- Grant Balfour is upset that he's lost his job as the A's closer, and he told manager Bob Melvin as much.

"I told him I wasn't happy," Balfour said before Sunday's series finale against the Tigers. "I was [ticked] off. That's fine. Whatever. I'll just go on the field and do what I gotta do."

Melvin had a different characterization of his meeting with Balfour, which took place sometime after the manager told Balfour and Brian Fuentes last week that Fuentes would be the new closer.

"I wouldn't say he wasn't happy," Melvin said. "It was more 'Do I have a chance to get this back?' and I said 'Absolutely.' I've been on many teams [where] you give the closer a little break and give him a chance to iron things out, and he'll have that opportunity. It's not uncommon that guys get pulled out of that role and end up reclaiming it."

Balfour began the season as the A's closer and gave up one run in his first 10 outings. But he has blown two saves and posted an 11.81 ERA over his last seven games.

Melvin gave the ball to Fuentes for the A's past two save opportunities, and announced after Fuentes' save on Saturday night that he was the new closer.

That didn't sit well with Balfour, who suggested he deserved more leeway.

"Do I feel it was kind of a short leash? A little bit," Balfour said. "I had a couple bad games. I feel like I pitched pretty good for the last year and a month, and a couple bad games and there goes that. It's kind of a bummer. But whatever."

Balfour, who had a 2.47 ERA in 62 games as an A's setup man last year, will pitch with Ryan Cook in the seventh and eighth innings for now, Melvin said.

Melvin said he could use the pitchers in either of those innings. Cook has not allowed a run in 16 2/3 innings this year.