Balfour insists he’s healthy as Orioles call off deal

Grant Balfour is still a free agent after his deal with Baltimore fell through.

(USATSI)Grant Balfour is still a free agent after his deal with Baltimore fell through.
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We know now that the previously agreed-upon two-year, $15 million deal between the Orioles and Grant Balfour has fallen apart due to Baltimore’s concerns with Balfour’s physical. Reports indicate the problem came when the Orioles examined an MRI of his right (throwing) shoulder.


Balfour had surgery to repair his labrum and rotator cuff back in 2005, but he’s been able to stay healthy of late. He’s appeared in at least 50 games in each season since 2008 and hasn’t been on the disabled list since 2011.

And Balfour told Susan Slusser of theSan Francisco Chronicle

that nothing has changed.


“My shoulder is fine, everything is fine, ” he said to Slusser (via Twitter). “I’m ready to come out there in the ninth inning, do what I do. ”


Slusser also notes that Balfour told her he is “100 percent fine” and his MRIs show the exact same thing they did three years ago when he signed with the Athletics.

In those three years with the A’s, Balfour had a 2. 53 ERA (154 ERA+), 1. 04 WHIP and 203 strikeouts in 199 1/3 innings. In the past two seasons as closer, he’s saved 62 games in 67 chances.

While he did insist he’s healthy, Balfour didn’t say anything negative about the Orioles:


Balfour says he doesn’t want to bad-mouth anyone, says of the #Orioles, “I guess they chose to go another route. ” #Athletics

— Susan Slusser (@susanslusser) December 20, 2013

Balfour has some medical experts getting his back, too. Via a Ken Rosenthal column on foxsports. com comes the following:

“The MRI that I did on him today looked exactly the same as the MRI I did three years ago, ” said [Rays team physician Koco] Eaton, who cared for Balfour with the Rays from 2007 to ’10 and performed his physical when the pitcher signed a two-year, $8. 1 million free-agent contract with the Athletics in Jan. 2011.

“I don’t have anything to add other than that our doctors aren’t satisfied with the results of the physical. These medical opinions vary from doctor to doctor. The processes vary from club to club. ”


Regardless, Balfour is back on the free agent market for any club seeking an All-Star closer.

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49ers LB Aldon Smith vows to stay healthy, clean (Yahoo Sports)


ANTA CLARA, Calif. (AP) – Aldon Smith believes he is on the path to being sober for good.

Part of the process for the San Francisco 49ers’ All-Pro linebacker to rejoin the team following a five-week stint in rehab included a verbal commitment to the NFL that he would stay out of trouble and keep clean.

”I think any time we could all look into our lives and find something we need to work on,” Smith said Tuesday, seemingly relaxed. ”I’ve taken my time and I’ve done that.”

A clean-cut Smith – hair trimmed from his previous long, curly cut – returned to the 49ers’ locker room after his long absence and five missed games to cheers from teammates who chanted his first name. Everybody knows what he means to this franchise and defense – and the 49ers are hopeful he is as healthy as he looks and ready to return to the field as soon as Sunday’s home game with Carolina.

”I’m getting there. Every day’s just a step closer to getting to where I want to be,” Smith said at his locker after practice. ”I’ve gotten a lot of support, from my family, friends, organization, teammates and everything. And it really says a lot that people care about me outside the field and they care about me as a person.”


San Francisco 49ers linebacker Aldon Smith fields questions in the team’s NFL football practice faci …

Smith had been on an indefinite paid leave of absence before being activated to the 53-man roster Thursday, two days after he turned himself in to Santa Clara County authorities on weapons charges. He met last Wednesday with team officials.

The fearsome pass-rusher is in shape despite a couple of extra pounds gained during his stint at an in-patient treatment center for substance abuse. He was at a facility outside California, he said, while declining to offer further details. He said he returned to the Bay Area on Oct. 28 after entering rehab in late September – and he was away for his 24th birthday Sept. 25.

Defensive teammate and fellow linebacker Patrick Willis is among those who sent periodic text messages to Smith during his time away.

”Aldon has been a guy since he came in who has been very productive for our defense, has been a playmaker for our defense,” Willis said. ”To get him back is a good thing, then, too, with his absence we were able to develop some depth with some of the other guys. It’s really going to be a strong point for us. When you have a guy such as Aldon with his talent, the biggest thing we can do for him is just let him know we’re here for him, let him know that we’re his teammates, but the main thing is just let him grow on his own.”

Smith played in a 27-7 home loss to the Colts on Sept. 22 and had five tackles just two days after he was arrested and jailed on suspicion of DUI and marijuana possession. He apologized for his behavior after the game then later announced he would leave for treatment.


San Francisco 49ers linebacker Aldon Smith fields questions in the team’s NFL football practice faci …

San Francisco (6-2) has won five straight games in impressive fashion without him.

Also in September, Smith and former teammate Delanie Walker were named in a lawsuit filed in Santa Clara County Superior Court by a Northern California man who said he was shot at a party at Smith’s house on June 29, 2012.

Smith, selected seventh overall in the 2011 draft out of Missouri, had previously been arrested on suspicion of DUI in January 2012 in Miami shortly after the 49ers lost in the NFC championship game.

Now, Smith is moving forward. He’s thrilled to be reunited with not only his team but also his 10-month-old son, Aulis.

”He looks good, man,” running back Frank Gore said. ”I’m a big fan of Aldon, a young guy who has the potential to be one of the best at the position. I’m happy he’s back with the family. I know he can help our team, so that’s great.”


San Francisco 49ers linebacker Aldon Smith, third from left, joins teammates in the locker room in t …

While Smith is scheduled for court appearances each of the next two Tuesdays, he expects to be in practice.

Smith was charged Oct. 9 with three felony counts of illegal possession of an assault weapon, stemming from that party at his home in June 2012.

”Of course, I didn’t want to be away from the sport I love. But it was good for me to get away and get my mind together and work, like I say, just to get to the positive spot I need to be at,” he said. ”I caught some of the games, some that were broadcast over there. So I was able to keep up with the guys and chime in here and there and wish them good luck.”

Smith had a franchise-record 19 1/2 sacks last season for the NFC champions. He has 4 1/2 sacks and 18 tackles over three games in 2013.

”I’m just taking it one day at a time, getting back here, being around the guys and just getting my life back at home,” Smith said.


San Francisco 49ers linebacker Aldon Smith fields questions in the team’s NFL football practice faci …

Also Tuesday, leading 2012 wideout Michael Crabtree was cleared to resume practicing following May surgery to repair a torn right Achilles tendon. The 49ers now have three weeks to activate him.

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Melo: ‘Sad’ Amar’e struggling to be healthy

GREENBURGH, N.Y. – There were in all probability loads of causes Carmelo Anthony wished to play for the New York Knicks back in 2011.

Money, marketing, the chance to be the face of a franchise in a significant city – all of them likely performed a task.

But so did Amar’e Stoudemire.

Anthony To see [Stoudemire] go forward after which take some steps again each time, it is simply unhappy.

- Carmelo Anthony on
Amar’e Stoudemire’s accidents

Anthony says the prospect to play with Stoudemire was “one of the reasons I needed to come to New York.”

So it is difficult for Anthony to observe Stoudemire struggle with one other knee harm.

“As a good friend, it’s laborious for me to take a seat again and act like it does not trouble me as a result of I know how arduous of a worker he’s [and] I do know the time that he places in the health club to coach and rehab,” Anthony mentioned Tuesday. “To see him go ahead after which take some steps again every time, it is just unhappy.”

Stoudemire will miss at the very least the Knicks’ first three preseason games as he works his way by means of one other knee ailment. The 11-year veteran is working his manner again from a knee procedure over the summer season – his third previously 12 months.

“I’m still getting stronger, nonetheless getting the legs robust enough to face up to the pressure of taking part in, but progress has been nice to this point,” Stoudemire mentioned.

The six-time All-Star was restricted to just 29 common-season games in 2012-13 thanks to 2 separate knee procedures. He also had microfracture surgical procedure in 2005.

Anthony generally wonders whether he’ll ever get to play with Stoudemire when he is 100 percent wholesome.

“Yeah, I think about it. I think about [it] generally,” he stated Tuesday. “He was one of many reasons why I wished to come to New York. So for me to not have that likelihood, the opportunity to get a full season in and get a rhythm going with him – it’s not one thing I thought would happen.”

Critics have frequently questioned whether or not Anthony and Stoudemire are a good pairing. Each players wish to operate in related spaces on the floor and appear to hinder one another at instances.

The Knicks are forty five-forty four within the regular season in video games during which Anthony and Stoudemire share the floor.

They are 2-11 in the postseason when Stoudemire and Anthony are on the floor collectively, although the Knicks’ 1-2 mark last season is a bit misleading as a result of Stoudemire was enjoying limited minutes.

Recent statistics aside, Stoudemire nonetheless believes he and Anthony can play effectively alongside one another.

He’s additionally pleased with the enhancements the Knicks have made during his tenure.

“Since I have been in New York, we’ve made great progress for the organization. We’re a staff to watch. We have now more TELEVISION games now than we had before. But on prime of that, we’ve been to the postseason each single year,” Stoudemire stated. “And that was part of my aim of coming right here: to build something that will allow us to improve. Sadly injuries performed an element after I used to be right here that first year. But I do envision myself getting wholesome and having the ability to dominate as I as soon as did before.”

When he was healthy, Stoudemire performed effectively for New York final season.

He averaged 14 points and 5 rebounds in 23 minutes per recreation.

Anthony hopes Stoudemire can do the same for the Knicks this season.

“It’s another weapon that we need,” Anthony said. “We may have used him final season at certain factors. For him to get a contemporary start off of this season, we want him. He’s a giant key to this team’s success.”

Anthony just hopes Stoudemire can return to the ground at 100% health this time around.

“Because at some point he is here with us and one other day he’s back rehabbing and training and attempting to get proper,” Anthony said. “I believe for him, I would fairly see him get back all the way in which right.”

Ian Begley is a regular contributor to

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Kelly: Vick is Eagles’ starting QB if healthy

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. – Michael Vick stays the Philadelphia Eagles’ beginning quarterback, coach Chip Kelly said.

That doesn’t imply, nevertheless, that there isn’t any method for backup Nick Foles to play his method into the job.

“We’re always going to compete and ensure one of the best guys are on the sphere,” Kelly mentioned after Foles changed the injured Vick and threw two fourth-quarter landing passes Sunday in Philadelphia’s 36-21 victory towards the New York Giants.

[+] EnlargeMichael VickAP Picture/Invoice KostrounBefore leaving with a hamstring injury, the Eagles’ Michael Vick had rushed seven instances for 79 yards towards the Giants.

Kelly mentioned Vick, who left Sunday’s recreation late within the second quarter after suffering a hamstring damage, will begin subsequent weekend in opposition to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers if the veteran quarterback is wholesome. He’s set to have an MRI on the hamstring Monday.

“It is irritating,” Vick stated. “I by no means question why issues happen, I by no means question God. It’s slightly sore. I have been standing up the final two hours. I must get treatment. I’ve had one of these injury earlier than.”

Requested if he thinks he’ll be capable to play towards the winless Buccaneers, Vick said, “I consider so.”

Vick pulled up lame late within the second quarter. He was working around the left end – his seventh carry of the sport, including several designed sweeps – and turned upfield.

“I am just operating on my own, just running out of bounds,” Vick mentioned. “I tried to decelerate. I believe I simply took the flawed step.”

Vick remained within the sport for three extra plays earlier than yielding to the Eagles’ subject objective unit. The medical employees labored on him on the sideline as Foles made a number of warm-up throws. After the Eagles received the ball again on their own 7-yard line, Vick got here again out. However he was chased from the pocket by Jason Pierre-Paul. Vick ran to his left and threw the ball away from his personal end zone as Pierre-Paul took him down from behind. That play convinced Kelly that Vick was not mobile enough to stay in the recreation.

“He wasn’t 100%,” Kelly said. “He did not seem like he was moving well. He did not have that step to get out of the way. I have a variety of confidence in Nick. If Nick had been to go down, I feel Mike might have gone back in.”

Vick completed with seven carries for 79 yards. He wasn’t as profitable in the passing recreation, completing just 6 of 14 for 104 yards.

Foles got here in with 1:25 left within the second quarter and took the Eagles from their very own 7 to the Giants 18, where Alex Henery kicked a 36-yard area goal because the half ended. Foles completed 7-of-8 passes on the drive for sixty eight yards.

For the sport, Foles completed sixteen-of-25 passes for 197 yards and two touchdowns. He was sacked just once, and his passer rating was 114.9.

Vick received the starting quarterback job in a preseason competition with Foles. Kelly said he didn’t need Vick wanting over his shoulder once he was named the No. 1 quarterback. But accidents restricted Vick to 23 starts in 2011 and 2012 mixed.

“You’d higher have two quarterbacks on this league,” Kelly mentioned.

Added Eagles running back LeSean McCoy: “We glance it as we have two starting quarterbacks.”

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