MLB notes: Orioles call off deal with closer Grant Balfour

Oakland Athletics pitcher Grant Balfour pauses on the mound after loading the bases in the ninth...

Oakland Athletics pitcher Grant Balfour pauses on the mound after loading the bases in the ninth inning of their MLB American League baseball game against the Toronto Blue Jays in Toronto August 11, 2013. (REUTERS/Fred Thornhill)

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Baltimore Orioles executive vice president Dan Duquette confirmed that the deal with relief pitcher Grant Balfour is off, and the club will try to find another closer.

"The Orioles were disappointed that we couldn't complete a contract with Grant Balfour," Duquette said, according to MASNSports.com. "The reason is the club's not satisfied with the results of the physical exam."

The Baltimore Sun reported that the Orioles cancelled a news conference Friday to introduce the reliever after team doctors expressed concern with Balfour's right shoulder during his physical.

However, Balfour told the San Francisco Chronicle's Susan Slusser that the MRI results were exactly the same as they were three years ago.

"I'm the all-star pitcher I was last season," he told the Chronicle. "My shoulder is fine, everything is fine. I'm ready to come out there in the ninth inning, do what I do."

On Tuesday, it was reported that Balfour had agreed to a two-year, $15 million contract with the Orioles that included $500,000 in deferred payments each of the next two seasons.

REDS SIGN WANG

The Cincinnati Reds signed free agent pitcher Chien-Ming Wang to a minor league contract Friday with an invitation to spring training.

Wang won 19 games for the New York Yankees in 2006 and 2007.

The right-hander spent most of this year at Triple-A for the Yankees and Toronto Blue Jays. Wang, 33, was 1-2 with a 7.67 ERA in six starts with Toronto.

For his major-league career, which started in 2005, Wang is 62-34 with a 4.37 ERA in 792 1/3 innings. He also played for the Washington Nationals in 2011 and '12.

YOUKILIS OFF TO JAPAN

Free agent infielder Kevin Youkilis will play in Japan next season for the Rakuten Golden Eagles, according to multiple reports.

Terms of the deal are not known.

Youkilis, 34, batted .219 with two home runs and eight RBIs in 105 at-bats over 28 games with the New York Yankees this past year. He was limited by back injuries.

TWINS SIGN SUZUKI

The Minnesota Twins agreed to a one-year contract with catcher Kurt Suzuki, according to multiple reports.

Fox Sports reported that the deal is worth $2.75 million plus incentives. It is still pending a physical.

Suzuki hit .232 with five home runs over 94 games combined with the Washington Nationals and Oakland A's this year.

ORIOLES PITCHER SUSPENDED

Baltimore Orioles pitcher Troy Patton was suspended 25 games by Major League Baseball without pay after testing positive for an amphetamine.

Patton was 2-0 with a 3.70 ERA in 56 relief appearances this year for Baltimore.

The positive test violates MLB's Joint Drug Prevention and Treatment Program.

The suspension is effective at the beginning of the 2014 season. Patton is on the Orioles' 40-man roster.

YANKS INTRODUCE BELTRAN

The New York Yankees introduced new right-fielder Carlos Beltran in a press conference. He officially signed a three-year, $45 million contract two weeks after the two sides agreed to the deal.

"Having the opportunity to come back again as a Yankee means a lot to me," Beltran said. "I grew up being a Yankee fan. I grew up being a Bernie Williams fan. At one point, I almost got a chance to sign with the Yankees, but it didn't work out."

Beltran will be 37 years old in April.

The Yankees also announced that Gary Tuck, Trey Hillman, Mike Quade and Matthew Krause have joined the organization.

Tuck, 59, was named the club's bullpen coach for the 2014 season. Hillman, 50, will be the Yankees' special assistant for major and minor league operations. Quade, 56, was named the organization's roving outfield and baserunning instructor. Krause, 40, has been hired as the Yankees' strength and conditioning coordinator.

D-BACKS AVOID ARBITRATION

The Arizona Diamondbacks avoided arbitration with reliever Brad Ziegler by agreeing to a two-year, $9.5 million contract extension, HardballTalk.com reported.

In addition, the extension will buy out Ziegler's first year of free agency.

Ziegler went 8-1 with a 2.22 earned run average this past season.

A'S OWNERS WON'T SELL

Oakland A's co-owner Lew Wolff told the Bay Area News Group that the team's ownership group is not interest in selling and is not looking at moving to a waterfront site in Oakland.

Wolff responded to a report by the East Bay Express on that Golden State Warriors owners Joe Lacob and Peter Guber could be interested in buying the A's and building a new ballpark at Howard Terminal in Oakland.

"No one has approached us for a sale," Wolff said. "And we are not interested in being approached."

Guber told the Los Angeles Times that any reports of his interest in buying the A's are "100 percent not true." Guber is part-owner of the Los Angeles Dodgers and Major League Baseball rules prohibit owners from involvement in multiple teams.

 


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