Grant Robert Balfour (born December 30 1977 in Sydney, Australia) is a middle reliever for the Tampa Bay Rays. He has previously played for the Cincinnati Reds, Minnesota Twins, and Milwaukee Brewers. Balfour is well known in some baseball circles for his seemingly ironic name (Ball-Four), considering he is a pitcher.
Balfour spent his high school years at William Clarke College in Kellyville, Sydney, Australia.
Balfour made his return to the major leagues on July 18, 2007 in the 8th inning with the Milwaukee Brewers. He relieved Chris Capuano in a 2-2 tie with the Arizona Diamondbacks, striking out Chris Young, the first hitter he faced. With two outs in the 8th, he hit a batter and walked another before giving up a three-run home run to Mark Reynolds, giving the Diamondbacks a 5-2 lead. Balfour would finish the 8th and 9th inning and take the loss in relief, having given up three earned runs in the 5-2 defeat.
On the same day that he was designated for assignment, Balfour was traded to the Tampa Bay Rays on July 27 2007, for Seth McClung. Balfour finished the season in the Rays bullpen and was resigned to a 1 year deal.
Balfour came into 2008 spring training as a long-shot to make the Rays bullpen. Despite a solid spring training, eventually he lost out on the final spot and was designated for assignment. He cleared waivers and accepted an outright assignment to Durham on April 3 2008.
Balfour was recalled from Triple A Durham on May 29th, 2008. He recorded the save on May 31st vs. the White Sox retiring Brian Anderson to end the game in a Rays 2-0 win. In the series sweep against the Chicago Cubs at Tropicana Field, Balfour was credited with two of the three wins - the first on June 16th, relieving Scott Kazmir with the score 1-1 and bases loaded, pitching one and one-third perfect innings in a 3-2 win; the second on June 18th, entering the game trailing 1-2, and pitching one and two-thirds innings, recording three strikeouts, in a game the Rays won 8-3. Balfour's season has been considered a pleasant surprise. Through July 9th he was 2-1 with an astonishing 1.37 ERA.
- Career statistics and player information from MLB, or ESPN, or Baseball-Reference, or Fangraphs, or The Baseball Cube
- Balfour accepts assignment to Durham