A’s pitcher Grant Balfour will begin the season as the team’s closer, manager Bob Melvin announced Tuesday.
Balfour beat out lefty Brian Fuentes for the role during spring training. The right-hander recorded a 2.47 ERA in 62 innings last year as a setup man.
The 34-year-old Balfour has been in the big leagues for eight years and has totaled 10 saves in his career, but has never had the full-time gig for an extended period of time.
The A’s were looking for a new closer after trading Andrew Bailey to the Boston Red Sox in the offseason.
Rallying for a tie: In their final home spring training game in Arizona, the A’s rallied with three runs in bottom of the ninth to force a 5-5 tie in 10 innings against the Chicago Cubs. Kila Ka’aihue and Jonny Gomes both hit late homers to help the A’s dig out of a 4-1 deficit. Yoenis Cespedes, recently named the A’s starting center fielder, went 2-for-5. Opening Day starter Brandon McCarthy allowed four runs, only two of which were earned, in four innings of work.
A’s option pair to Triple-A: The A’s optioned right-handed pitcher Brad Peacock and left-hander Pedro Figueroato Triple-A Sacramento. With the move, the A’s 30-man travel roster for the trip to Japan for the March 28 season opener is finalized. The total includes 27 players on the 40-man roster and three nonroster invitees. The breakdown includes 14 pitchers, two catchers, eight infielders and six outfielders.