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Source says Orioles, Balfour agree on 2-year, $15 million deal

Two weeks after trading their closer to Oakland, the Baltimore Orioles agreed to a two-year, $15 million contract with former Athletics closer Grant Balfour on Tuesday, according to a person familiar with the deal.

Balfour’s contract will not be completed until the right-hander passes a physical, the source told The Associated Press, speaking on condition of anonymity because the transaction had not been announced by the Orioles.

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Balfour fills the vacancy left by the trade of closer Jim Johnson, who was dealt to Oakland because Baltimore didn’t want to pay him about $10 million a year. Johnson had a total of 101 saves over the past two seasons and was in line for a significant raise.

Balfour, 35, went 1-3 with 38 saves in 41 opportunities with Oakland last season, when his salary was $4.5 million. He had a 2.59 earned-run average and 72 strikeouts in 622
3 innings.

Yankees sign Roberts, Thornton

The New York Yankees reportedly agreed to a $2 million, one-year contract with second baseman Brian Roberts and a $7 million, two-year deal with left-hander Matt Thornton.

The deals are contingent on the players passing physicals.

Ex-Baltimore Oriole Roberts, 36, is among the options at second base to replace Robinson Cano, who left the Yankees for a $240 million, 10-year contract with the Mariners.

Thornton, 37, replaces Boone Logan, who left for a $16.5 million, three-year contract with Colorado.

Meanwhile, the Yankees were hit with a $28 million luxury-tax bill. According to Major League Baseball calculations sent to teams Tuesday, the Los Angeles Dodgers were the only other team that exceeded the tax threshold this year and must pay $11.4 million.

The Yankees are responsible for $252.7 million of the $285.1 million in tax paid by all major-league teams over the past 11 years.


Charges are dropped against fan
who hugged Ronaldo in Florida

Prosecutors in South Florida have dropped charges against an excited fan who got onto the field and hugged Real Madrid superstar Cristiano Ronaldo during an August match.

The Miami-Dade state attorney’s office announced it would not prosecute Ronald Gjoka, 20, on trespassing charges. During Real Madrid’s 3-1 Guinness International Champions Cup victory over Chelsea at Sun Life Stadium in Miami Gardens, Gjoka hugged Ronaldo for several seconds before police escorted him away.

Toronto FC trades for Morrow

Major League Soccer team Toronto FC acquired defender Justin Morrow, 26, from the San Jose Earthquakes for allocation money.

Morrow is able to play fullback and center back. In four years with the Earthquakes, the American played in 71 games — including 63 starts.


Stenson earns European honor

Henrik Stenson has been selected European player of the year after winning the European Tour money title and the FedEx Cup on the PGA Tour in the United States.

The 37-year-old Stenson, who succeeded Rory McIlroy of Northern Ireland, is the first player from Sweden to win the award.

In addition to his six-stroke victory in the season-ending World Tour Championship to clinch the Race to Dubai, Stenson also won the Deutsche Bank Championship and the Tour Championship in Atlanta to seal the FedEx Cup.

Stenson said the award reflected “the stellar year I have had. You can call it a dream season, year of my life, whatever you want.”


Andy Murray of Scotland will play his first competitive match since September when he faces Jo-Wilfried Tsonga of France at an exhibition tournament in Abu Dhabi next week.

Wimbledon champion Murray has been sidelined since having surgery for a back problem.

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