Balfour hopes to make spring debut by Monday

PHOENIX -- The A's hope to have their closer back in less than a week.

Right-hander Grant Balfour, who underwent minor knee surgery on Feb. 14, threw to hitters for the first time since his operation on Tuesday and is gearing up to make his Cactus League debut by Monday.

Balfour had been engaged in bullpen sessions over the last week, but it wasn't until this week he was cleared to begin running again. That's the final step in his rehab process.

It's one that typically lasts from four to six weeks, putting Balfour on the shorter end of that spectrum, as the gritty reliever anticipated.

Balfour will likely have two weeks of exhibition action to prepare for the regular season.

Jane Lee is a reporter for Read her blog, Major Lee-ague, and follow her on Twitter @JaneMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.