OAKLAND -- For three days, Balfour Rage is back at the Coliseum.
Grant Balfour saved 64 games during his three-year tenure in Oakland, blossoming into the A's closer for back-to-back division-winning teams in 2012 and '13. The A's elected to go a different route this season, but the Rays' right-hander has nothing but love -- not rage -- for the Oakland players and fans.
"A lot of good memories, no doubt," Balfour said Monday before the opener of a three-game set. "It's exciting to come back to a place where you played and you had success. We did some good things, made it exciting, and brought back the winning baseball to Oakland."
Balfour appeared headed for Baltimore in the offseason, but Tampa Bay snagged him after that deal fell through. A return to Oakland, Balfour said, was never on the table.
"I don't want fans to think I rejected an offer to come back here, because it was never there," he said. "I had a great time out here. ... Felt like I put together some good years and gave the fans something to have a good time about."
The Coliseum crowd embraced Balfour's fiery style -- and his 2.53 ERA from 2011-13 didn't hurt.
"They were great to me," he said. "I couldn't ask for anything more of those guys. I've got to thank them all for the way they took me in and the way they made me feel."
This season has gone less smoothly for Balfour, who lost his closer's job in June and has a 4.79 ERA in 43 appearances. However, he has not allowed a run in 15 of his last 17 outings.
Aaron Leibowitz is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.