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.

Report: Phillies moving in on a deal with Tommy Hunter

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Update (8:40 PM ET): Joel Sherman of the New York Post reports that Hunter’s contract with the Phillies is for two years.

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There’s been a bit of confusion at the Winter Meetings. First, ESPN’s Buster Olney reported that the Phillies were close to signing free agent reliever Addison Reed. That report was then disputed by Jon Heyman of FanRag Sports. Matt Gelb of the Philadelphia Inquirer then reported that not only do the Phillies not have a deal with Reed, they’re actually moving in on a deal with free agent pitcher Tommy Hunter. Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic backed up Gelb’s report, as did Todd Zolecki of MLB.com.

Hunter, 31, spent the past season with the Rays, posting a 2.61 ERA with a 64/14 K/BB ratio across 58 2/3 innings. The right-hander, a veteran of 10 seasons in the majors, should be a good addition to the Phillies’ bullpen, which also recently added Pat Neshek. Neshek and Hunter will likely work the innings just ahead of closer Hector Neris.

As for Reed, well, who knows.