Rays designate Grant Balfour for assignment

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Per the Rays on Twitter, the club has designated reliever Grant Balfour for assignment. To take Balfour’s spot on the 25-man roster, the Rays have promoted reliever Brandon Gomes from Triple-A Durham.

Balfour hadn’t been scored upon in 3 2/3 innings coming into Saturday night’s game against the Yankees. That, however, changed rather abruptly. The seventh inning began with starter Jake Odorizzi allowing a lead-off single. Manager Kevin Cash immediately replaced Odorizzi with C.J. Riefenhauser, but the Yankees continued to rally, scoring twice on two singles, a double, and a sacrifice fly.

Balfour entered with runners on first and second and one out. He walked Alex Rodriguez to load the bases, induced a sacrifice fly from Mark Teixeira, hit Brian McCann to re-load the bases, allowed a grand slam to Chris Young, walked Chase Headley, uncorked a wild pitch, walked Stephen Drew, and finally got Gregorio Petit to foul out to end the inning. The Yankees led 9-0, the score by which they would eventually win. Balfour’s line: 0.2 IP, 1 H, 3 ER, 3 BB, 0 K, 1 HR. His ERA ballooned to 6.23.

The 37-year-old Balfour is earning a $7 million salary from the Rays. Considering he struggled immensely last season and his velocity has fallen from 93.4 MPH on average in 2013 to 91.6 last season and 89.7 MPH this season, Balfour may not draw much interest from other teams.

Bryce Harper is on paternity leave

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Several years ago, Bryce Harper made news when it was revealed that he thought the word “meme” was pronounced “may-may.” That may be my favorite Bryce Harper moment ever.

As it was announced by the Phillies a little while ago that Harper has been placed on paternity leave, I’m wondering if he pronounces the word “baby” “bébé.”

I wouldn’t think less of him if he did, actually. One of my favorite people in the world does that.

Anyway, congratulations to Bryce Harper on becoming a dad. And it’s good news not just for him but for the Phillies and their fans as well. Why? Because as Bill noted earlier this week, Harper seems to hit better when he’s being taunted and mocked. For now that’s not very important, as the child won’t be talking for some time. As a father of teenagers, I can tell you that eventually the little monsters live to disrespect their dear old dads. If Harper’s current motivational patterns hold, by the time that kid is ten Harper will be winning the dang Triple Crown every year.

But again, congratulations to the Harpers.