Rays lose setup man Grant Balfour for 4-6 weeks with injury

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In news that helps explain the Rays’ acquisition of Chad Qualls this morning, Grant Balfour is expected to miss 4-6 weeks with a strained intercostal/rib muscle.
Balfour was brilliant for the Rays in 2008, struggled for much of last season, and has been dominant again this year with a 2.08 ERA, .218 opponents’ batting average, and 44/13 K/BB ratio in 43.1 innings.
Qualls’ secondary numbers suggest he’s a very good bet to pitch significantly better than his hideous performance in Arizona, but he’s still a big downgrade as a replacement for Balfour.

Phillies sign Trevor Plouffe to minor league deal

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Infielder Trevor Plouffe has signed a minor league deal with the Phillies, Gerry Fraley of the Dallas Morning News reports. Plouffe asked for and was granted his release from the Rangers earlier this month.

Plouffe, 31, had a double and a home run in 17 plate appearances with Triple-A Round Rock to start the 2018 season. He spent last year with the Athletics and Rays, putting up a meager .198/.272/.318 batting line in 100 games.

Plouffe has mostly played third base throughout his career, but can also handle the other three infield spots and both outfield corners, so he’ll serve as organizational depth at Triple-A Lehigh Valley for the Phillies.