Orioles working on a deal with closer Grant Balfour

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It sounds like Baltimore has zeroed in on its preferred Jim Johnson replacement, as Ken Rosenthal of FOXSports.com reports that the Orioles are “trying to get a deal done” with former A’s closer Grant Balfour.

Balfour didn’t get a chance to be a closer until age 33, but he’s saved 62 games with a 2.56 ERA and 9.4 strikeouts per nine innings during the past two seasons while holding opponents to a .182 batting average.

Based on just about everything except save totals–which are inherently iffy as an evaluation tool–Balfour represents an upgrade over Johnson and perhaps a pretty sizable upgrade at that.

Yu Darvish suffers setback during rehab start

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Cubs starter Yu Darvish suffered a setback during Sunday’s rehab start with Low-A South Bend, The Athletic’s Jon Greenberg reports. Darvish threw just 19 pitches in the first inning and felt fine. However, when he took the mound to warm up ahead of the second inning, Darvish “felt something” in his injured right elbow. He exited the game to undergo an MRI.

Darvish’s condition isn’t yet known, but it’s obviously bad news. Darvish signed a six-year, $126 million contract in February and has made just eight starts this season. He owns a 4.95 ERA with 49 strikeouts and 21 walks in 40 innings and hasn’t pitched since May 20.

Darvish said he hopes to return before the end of the regular season to help the team. Cubs president of baseball operations Theo Epstein is realistic about the situation. He said, “It’s a process. We’ll see how he feels. It’s been a long road back, so there’s no point in rushing it now. We probably have one chance given where we are on the calendar to get this right, so that’s the priority.”

Mike Montgomery has pitched out of the rotation in Darvish’s place but he is also currently on the disabled list. Tyler Chatwood, with a 5.22 ERA and 93 walks in 101 2/3 innings, was booted from the rotation at the end of July after the Cubs acquired Cole Hamels. The Cubs, entering Sunday 20 games over .500 and fewer than five games ahead of the Cardinals and Brewers in the NL Central, need some reliability at the back of the rotation.