Grant Balfour is already throwing 15 days after knee surgery

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Grant Balfour returned to the mound with a bullpen session today just two weeks after undergoing surgery to repair a torn meniscus in his right knee.

That’s ahead of schedule and Casey Pratt of CSNBayArea.com reports that the A’s seem optimistic about Balfour’s chances of returning to game action before the initial 4-6 week timetable. In other words, the A’s closer might be on the active roster for Opening Day.

Before that happens he’ll have to avoid any setbacks while facing live hitters in batting practice, but so far so good.

Video: Corey Dickerson breaks scoreless tie with walk-off home run

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Neither the Pirates nor the Tigers could manage any offense during Thursday afternoon’s game at PNC Park. That is, until outfielder Corey Dickerson launched a walk-off solo home run off of Alex Wilson with one out in the bottom of the ninth inning.

Dickerson, 28, has been solid for the Pirates for the first month of the season. He’s batting .314/.348/.500 with a pair of home runs, 13 RBI, and 13 runs scored in 92 plate appearances. The Pirates acquired him from the Rays in late February in exchange for journeyman pitcher Daniel Hudson and Single-A infielder Tristan Gray.