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Wednesday, Aug 15, 2018
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Tampa Bay Rays

Cash: Balfour could return as Rays' closer

PORT CHARLOTTE — RHP Grant Balfour is one of four pitchers who will receive an opportunity to work the ninth inning while LHP Jake McGee works his way back from offseason elbow surgery. RHPs Kevin Jepsen, Ernesto Frieri and Brad Boxberger are the others.

Manager Kevin Cash said it's possible Balfour will return to the role he lost last June after a rough start.

“I don't see why not. I think so,” Cash said. “Grant has done this for a long time. We've talked, he's going to bounce back. He's motivated, very motivated and he's a veteran that has been in that role. He's given up big hits and lost ball games and bounced back, maybe a little bit longer over the course of last year, but he finished strong in September, so he's motivated to come in and do good.”

Balfour said he would like to earn his job back, but added that it is not the driving force this spring.

“You know what? I'm not putting a bunch of pressure on myself,” Balfour said. “I'm just coming in here taking each day as it comes, focusing on getting strong and healthy and starting the season and letting it all take care of itself. I'm here to help the team win in any possible way. If I'm in that role or another role, that's what it is.

“I'm just trying to get ready and focusing on a lot of little things. Hopefully that turns into getting that role back.”

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