Balfour's deal comes after rough times

Published Jan. 16, 2011 12:00 a.m. ET

Reliever Grant Balfour says his $8.1 million deal with the Oakland A's will go part of the way to helping his family overcome a heartbreaking 12 months, The (Sydney) Daily Telegraph reported Monday.

Balfour, who agreed to a two-year deal with the A's on the weekend, was shattered by the death of his father Dave's wife, Carmen, last March, then not long after learned Dave had been diagnosed with pancreatic cancer.

Balfour said the new contract -- the biggest baseball deal earned by an Australian -- continued a change of luck on the home front.

"I know Dad has had a rough year -- you don't wish for things like this to happen to anyone -- but it's now nice to have something good to talk about," said Balfour, 33.

"It's tough being so far away, but Dad is pretty tough and always said to me, 'Don't worry about me, I'll be fine, you just focus on baseball.'"

Dave Balfour, 58, underwent extensive chemotherapy and had more than 1,000 stitches during an operation. He lost more than 44 pounds and is still not completely cleared, but said he was in no pain.

"I was more excited about Grant signing than I was when the doctors told me they could operate on my cancer," Dave Balfour said from his Sydney home.


"I've gone through a lot of difficult times, but getting the chance to watch Grant play baseball gives me something to look forward to and it helps.

"When your kids live in another country and you get sick, it's tough, but watching him play baseball has been unbelievable."

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