PHOENIX — A's reliever Grant Balfour's vow to be pitching within four weeks of his meniscus surgery still has two weeks to run.

As is often the case with Balfour, he seems to be ahead of schedule.

The hard-charging Oakland closer is scheduled to see team medics on Thursday to see if he can get clearance to get back to throwing off a mound. He's been throwing on flat ground for a few days now with no evident pain.

A's trainer Nick Paparesta confirmed the meeting with the doctors, which if it goes as Balfour hopes, could have him back on the mound in a matter of days.

Manager Bob Melvin and Paparesta indicated there likely would be at least one more throwing session on flat ground for Balfour before going further.

``The next step will be throwing off the mound,'' Paparesta said. ``When that will be will be determined by the doctors.''



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