PHOENIX (AP) - Oakland Athletics closer Grant Balfour had arthroscopic surgery on his right knee to repair a torn meniscus.
Dr. Douglas Freedberg operated Thursday. The A's said recovery time usually is four to six weeks and Balfour decided to have the procedure now with the hope of returning for the start of the season. The injury is considered minor.
Balfour said through the team that the knee bothered him late last season but wasn't considered anything serious and that the knee calmed down during the offseason. So, he went about his regular regimen over the winter.
``I didn't know what it was other than I was a little sore,'' Balfour said in the statement. ``Obviously we were in a pennant race so I was going to pitch. ... I was able to work out with very little soreness, so I really wasn't concerned.''
The 35-year-old Balfour went 3-2 with a 2.53 ERA and 24 saves last season for the AL West champions.
The A's exercised their $4.5 million contract option for the Australian reliever shortly after the team lost in a five-game AL division series to the Detroit Tigers.
He made 75 appearances spanning 74 2-3 innings in 2012, his ninth year in the majors. Balfour began the season as the closer, lost the job, then earned it back again down the stretch as the A's rallied over the final 10 games to stun the Texas Rangers on the final day of the regular season.
Balfour arrived at spring training earlier this week eager to get started with a pitching staff that is nearly intact from last season.
Now, he will prepare to get going on his rehabilitation as soon as possible after the operation.
``I feel good about getting it done now,'' Balfour said. ``It will allow me to get ready for Game 1 of the season. I knew the way I was feeling I wouldn't have been able to pitch through it all season long.''
Balfour threw Wednesday and felt something in the knee.

Top MLB Public Bets

#2 966 Detroit Tigers  92%
#3 956 Miami Marlins  83%
#4 916 Boston Red Sox  82%
#5 922 Houston Astros  81%
#6 904 Miami Marlins  80%
#7 911 Colorado Rockies  79%
#9 930 Seattle Mariners  76%
#10 918 Detroit Tigers  75%

MLB Top Stories

Thumbnail Braves vs. Padres Prediction Will the Braves pull off the upset tonight when they visit the Padres at 10:10PM ET?
Thumbnail Rockies vs. Giants Prediction Will the over cash again tonight when the Giants host their National League West rivals the Rockies at 10:15PM ET?
Thumbnail Phillies vs. Mariners Prediction Will John Paxton lead the Mariners to a victory tonight against the Phillies at 10:10PM ET?
Thumbnail Angels vs. Dodgers Prediction Will tonight’s matchup between the Angels and Dodgers be high-scoring at 10:10PM ET?
Thumbnail Cardinals vs. D-Backs Prediction Will Carlos Martinez on the hill, will the Cardinals pick up a road win versus the Diamondbacks tonight at 9:40PM ET?

MLB Team Pages