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No extra motivation for Balfour against Orioles

BALTIMORE -- Grant Balfour has shown no rage, but he is over the questions about whether he would have any extra motivation about facing the Orioles.

Prior to Monday night's Rays-Orioles contest, Balfour had to face a new round of the questions because the series brings the right-hander his first opportunity of the season to face the Orioles.

In December, the Australia native agreed to a two-year, $15 million contract with the Orioles, but that deal fell through when Baltimore said he flunked his physical. In the aftermath of that news, Seth Levinson, Balfour's agent, charged that his client was healthy and that the O's had just decided not to sign him. Validating his charge, Levinson cited the findings of two doctors who found nothing out of order after looking at an MRI of Balfour's right shoulder.

In January, Balfour signed with the Rays.

Balfour was polite Monday while fielding questions about the topic that won't go away.

"When you go to free agency, you have a choice between 30 teams," Balfour said. "So you never know where you're going to be. And I'm just glad I ended up here with the Rays."

Balfour allowed that the last time he was in Baltimore was to take the physical before the contract could be approved. He remained in Baltimore and later that day he learned from his agent that he had flunked the physical.

"When I walked out of here last time, I was not going to be an Oriole," Balfour said. "There wasn't a meeting [with the Orioles]. Just basically my agent telling me that I had failed my physical and I would not be an Oriole. ... So I said alright, get me the next flight out of here, I'm going home. You're not signing me, get the [heck] out of here cause somebody else is going to sign me. ... I was healthy. That's the end of the story really."

Balfour, who is known to bring his "Aussie Rage" to the mound as a closer, said that he did not have any extra emotions boiling inside of him because the Rays were playing the Orioles.

"No, I'm not going to let them dictate what I do," Balfour said. "I don't need any [extra emotion], whatever they did is what they did and they know what they did. And that's all going to take care of itself. For me, it's all about playing and winning for my team. I don't need to do any more than what I'm doing. I tell myself every year, you don't have to go out there and do any more. Just keep doing what you're doing. Stay consistent. ... I know what I can do, what I'm capable of."

In essence, Balfour plans to treat the Orioles like any other team.

"They're no different than anyone else," Balfour said. "That's why it's not a big deal to me. You guys want to talk about it, but I don't want to talk about it. I've got nothing to say other than there's 29 other teams out there, they're one of them and I want to beat them because I'm here to win. ... Good deal for me, because I get to stay here with the Rays. It's all good."

Bill Chastain is a reporter for
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