Baltimore Orioles nix deal for closer Grant Balfour

The Baltimore Orioles won't be closing a deal for All-Star closer Grant Balfour.

Days after reaching a preliminary agreement with the free agent pending a physical, the Orioles said Friday that they weren't satisfied with the results of Balfour's exam.

"This is a deal that's not going to come together," Dan Duquette, Orioles executive vice president of baseball operations, said on a conference call.

Duquette declined to say what specifically concerned him about Balfour, who turns 36 later this month. Balfour had shoulder and elbow surgeries that kept him out of the majors in 2005 and 2006. Baltimore and Balfour agreed Tuesday to a $15-million, two-year contract that included $1 million in deferred payments, a deal dependent on the physical. Duquette said the team would not seek to restructure the agreement.


Major League Baseball suspended Orioles relief pitcher Troy Patton for the first 25 games of next season after a positive test for a banned amphetamine. Patton told the Baltimore Sun that he took an Adderall pill four days before the season finished, trying to improve his short-term focus.

"I took one because I was stupid," Patton told the Sun. "It was the end of the season. It was just a stupid mistake."

"I was just tired, basically. I don't want to list that as an excuse. I know I took a banned substance. It was just a poor lapse in judgment," he said.

The 28-year-old left-hander, a veteran of five major league seasons, was 2-0 with a 3.70 earned-run average this year in 56 relief appearances.

Under the drug agreement between MLB and its players' union, 25 games is the penalty for a second positive amphetamine test. A first positive results in only six unannounced follow-up tests over the next year.


Kevin Youkilis is leaving the major leagues after an injury-plagued season and heading to Japan.

The three-time All-Star has agreed to a one-year contract with the Rakuten Golden Eagles of Japan's Pacific League. A 34-year-old first baseman and third baseman, Youkilis will have a $4-million base salary and can earn $1 million in bonuses — including some based on walks, a provision not allowed in major league contracts.


The Arizona Diamondbacks have avoided arbitration with Brad Ziegler by agreeing to a two-year, $10.5-million contract with the right-handed reliever. ... The Diamondbacks also promoted Mark Grace to hitting coach of Class-A Hillsboro (Ore.), 16 months after the former All-Star left his broadcasting job after a second drunk-driving arrest.


Former Tampa Bay designated hitter Luke Scott signed a $300,000, one-year contract with SK Wyvern in South Korea's baseball league.


HOCKEY: Case against Semyon Varlamov dropped

Prosecutors in Denver said that they are dropping a domestic violence case against Colorado Avalanche goalie Semyon Varlamov because they have new information leading them to believe they couldn't win a conviction.