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Grant Balfour injury: Knee, wrist issues caused failed physical

The 36-year-old closer's medical "red flags" were reportedly in regard to his knee and wrist rather than his pitching shoulder.


The medical "red flags" that caused Grant Balfour's deal with the Orioles to deteriorate were based on concerns about his wrist and knee rather than an injury to his pitching shoulder, according to ESPN's Buster Olney.

Baltimore's concerns were originally reported to "at least partly" involve Balfour's right shoulder, but that no longer appears to have been the issue that caused him to fail his physical. His two-year, $15 million deal was abandoned shortly after and Balfour re-entered free agency. He could still file a grievance against the Orioles with the MLB Players Association, citing the clean bill of health he received from Reds' and Rays' team doctors.

However, the Australian-born closer underwent knee surgery prior to the 2013 season. That didn't keep him from performing admirably for the Athletics last season, but it could be the impetus for Baltimore's concern. He saved a career-high 38 games with a 2.59 ERA in 62⅔ innings.

Although a shoulder injury would be a much more troubling diagnosis for Balfour's present and future, his knee and wrist were big enough concerns for the O's to back out of the deal. No details on the severity of these issues have been disclosed.

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