Here is a statement from Seth Levinson, whose agency ACES represents Grant Balfour, whom the Orioles decided not to sign after reviewing his physical. They had a two-year, $15 million deal before the Orioles backed out Friday.
“Grant is completely healthy and that was told to us today by Dr. Koco Eaton, a well-respected club physician (with the Tampa Bay Rays). Dr. Eaton’s opinion is based upon the fact that the MRI which was taken today is the same as the MRI which was taken in 2011 as a condition of the three-year contract that Grant signed with the A’s. Dr. Tim Kremchek (Cincinnati Reds), another well-respected club physician, reviewed the Orioles’ medical report and advised that he is remarkably impressed that there has been little change in Grant’s arm for almost 10 years. Now factor into the equation that Grant was a 2013 All-Star, pitched 65 games and another 3 scoreless innings in the postseason with a 94-95 mph fastball. The only reasonable conclusion is that Grant is healthy and the Orioles at the last moment changed their minds."
Levinson added: “Grant is an All-Star closer who has converted 55 of his last 58 save opportunities. Talent wins at the end of the day and if a club wants to win, then they need Grant coming out of the 'pen in the 9th inning.”
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Tim Kremchek, the Cincinnati Reds medical director and renowned orthopedic surgeon, performed right elbow and shoulder surgeries on Balfour in 2005.
At the request of Balfour’s agent, Kremchek said he received the MRIs of Balfour’s elbow and shoulder Friday. The MRIs were taken earlier in the week at Johns Hopkins Hospital. Kremchek said he was surprised how good Balfour’s arm looked given that he has been pitching for years after the initial surgery.
“It looked great and I was glad for him. I was pleasantly shocked,” Kremchek said. “That’s awesome, and then I heard [Orioles’ doctors] failed him. I was like, ‘Whoa.’ Either I am missing something or they are. Because I didn’t bat an eye when I saw it.”
Kremchek said he has reviewed worse MRIs from pitchers who have never had surgeries or arm symptoms -- and he has passed them.
“The fact that he failed the physical makes no sense to me,” Kremchek said.