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Report: Orioles' deal with Balfour may fall through

The SportsXchange

The Baltimore Orioles' deal with free-agent closer Grant Balfour could be in danger of falling apart.

According to multiple reports Thursday, there are concerns about Balfour's health after a physical. The Baltimore Sun reported that the Orioles cancelled a news conference Friday to introduce the reliever after team doctors expressed concern with Balfour's right shoulder during his physical.

On Tuesday, it was reported that Balfour had agreed to a two-year, $15 million contract with the Orioles that included $500,000 in deferred payments each of the next two seasons.

Balfour has not been placed on the disabled list since 2011. He did have surgery on his right knee last spring, but it was not a problem during the season.

The 35-year-old posted 38 saves and had a 1-3 record with a 2.59 ERA and 72 strikeouts in 62 2/3 innings for the Oakland Athletics in 2013. In the past two seasons for the A's, Balfour had 62 saves in 67 opportunities.

Balfour was ticketed to assume the closer role in 2014 for the Orioles, who traded last season's closer, Jim Johnson, to the A's earler in the month.

ESPN reported that a salary reduction in the proposed contract could be a possibility, similar to what happened last year with free-agent catcher-turned-first baseman Mike Napoli. Concerns over Napoli's health prompted the Boston Red Sox to reduce their offer from three years to one.
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