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.

Donaldson ejected for kicking dirt on plate after home run

David Banks-USA TODAY Sports
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Minnesota’s Josh Donaldson managed to get ejected while hitting a home run.

Donaldson barked at plate umpire Dan Bellino for the second time in the sixth inning of a 4-3 loss to the Chicago White Sox on Thursday.

With the score 2-2, Bellino called a strike when the 2015 AL MVP checked his swing on a 2-0 pitch from Reynaldo Lopez.

Manager Rocco Baldelli came out to speak with Bellino, and Donaldson homered down the left-field line on the next offering. After rounding the bases, Donaldson kicked dirt at home plate as he crossed it.

Bellino ejected him immediately, and Donaldson, realizing he had missed home plate, returned to the plate to touch it and then argued as he kicked more dirt on it.

Donaldson also had argued with Bellino on a 1-1 breaking ball in the first inning that appeared to be high but was called a strike, leading to a strikeout.

“We need Josh on the field, out there playing, and at third base,” Baldelli said. “That’s when we’re at our best. And so that’s really the end of it. I think we can move past it at his point, and go from here.”