Grant Balfour expected to rejoin A’s bullpen Thursday

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Assuming his rehab outing at Triple-A goes well tomorrow night Grant Balfour is expected to come off the disabled list Thursday, according to Jane Lee of MLB.com

Balfour has been out for the past two weeks with a strained oblique muscle, but reported no problems following a bullpen session yesterday and told Lee: “I want to be ready now.”

He’s expected to resume eighth-inning setup duties in front of closer Andrew Bailey. In the first season of a two-year, $8 million deal, Balfour was dominant with a 2.48 ERA, .198 opponents’ batting average, and 35 strikeouts in 33 innings prior to the DL stint.

Baseball to honor Stoneman Douglas High School as spring training games begin

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There were a few exhibitions against college teams yesterday but today the Grapefruit League and Cactus League schedules begin in earnest, with big league teams, more or less, facing big league team, more or less.

The baseball will look like baseball, but the teams will be wearing different caps today: black caps with the maroon “SD” of Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, where 17 people were killed in a mass shooting on February 14.

All teams and umpire crews will wear the caps pre-game, and they have the option to wear the caps during the games. The only two teams not playing today — the Royals and Rangers — will wear them tomorrow.

After the games players will sign the caps and they will be auctioned off to raise money for the Broward Education Foundation, which benefits the official Stoneman Douglas Victims’ Fund.

Here’s today’s schedule: