Grant Balfour needs knee surgery, out 4-6 weeks

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How quickly spring training shifts from the “Best Shape of His Life” stage to the “Players Being Injured” stage.

A’s closer Grant Balfour will miss 4-6 weeks following surgery to repair a torn meniscus in his right knee, which apparently bothered him at the end of last season and then continued to be an issue when he started throwing this week.

Balfour might have time to be ready for Opening Day and if not he shouldn’t miss many games. Oakland has good bullpen depth anyway, with Ryan Cook and Sean Doolittle as the most likely fill-in closers.

Balfour came into last season with just 10 career saves through age 33, but saved 24 games with a 2.53 ERA and 72 strikeouts in 75 innings. Dating back to 2008 he has a 2.78 ERA in 318 innings while holding opponents to a .191 batting average.

Odubel Herrera’s on-base streak ends at 45 games

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Phillies outfielder Odubel Herrera‘s streak of reaching base safely has ended after 45 consecutive games. He went 0-for-4 with three strikeouts in Sunday’s 5-1 loss to the Cardinals.

Herrera’s streak tied Chuck Klein for the fourth-longest on-base streak in Phillies history. The only longer streaks were done by Mike Schmidt (56), Klein again (49), and Bobby Abreu (48). It’s the longest on-base streak in the majors since Freddie Freeman reached base in 46 consecutive games from August 6 to September 28, 2016. Jayson Werth also got to 46 in a row June 20 through August 18 that same year.

After Sunday’s 0-fer, Herrera is batting .344/.411/.544 with seven home runs, 30 RBI, and 24 runs scored in 180 plate appearances. He leads the National League in batting average, and ranks sixth and ninth in slugging percentage.