Yankees Add Two More Free Agents
New York — The New York Yankees 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, according to a person familiar with the negotiations.
When the agreements are completed, along with a pending three-year deal with outfielder Carlos Beltran, the Yankees’ projected luxury tax payroll for 2014 will rise to $177.7 million. That’s about the maximum if the team wants to remain under the $189 million threshold.
New York would gain flexibility if Alex Rodriguez is suspended for most of the season, relieving the team of a large percentage of his $25 million salary.
Sox Add Japanese Pitcher
Boston — Right-hander Shunsuke Watanabe agreed to a minor league contract with the Boston Red Sox.
Boston said he will report to minor league spring training as a reliever.
The two-time All-Star in Japan is a submarine-style pitcher with a 87-82 record and a 3.65 ERA. He spent 13 years with the Chiba Lotte Marines of the Pacific League and pitched on Japan’s World Baseball Classic championship teams in 2006 and 2009.
Also Tuesday, the Red Sox agreed to release righty Chris Carpenter to the Yakult Swallows of Japan’s Central League in exchange for cash. Carpenter was the compensation for general manager Theo Epstein when he left for the Chicago Cubs after the 2011 season.
Orioles, Closer Reach Deal
Baltimore — 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.
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 season. Johnson had 50 saves in each of the past two seasons but was in line for a huge raise.
Canada Hires Coach
Calgary, Alberta — Kevin Dineen became coach of Canada’s women’s hockey team Tuesday ahead of the Sochi Olympics, a month after his firing by the Florida Panthers.
He succeeds Dan Church, who unexpectedly resigned last week less than two months before the games in Russia. The Canadian women’s team is aiming to win Olympic gold for the fourth straight time.
This the first international coaching job for the 50-year-old Dineen, a former NHL player who scored 355 goals and added 405 assists on five teams from 1984-2002.
He coached the Panthers for just more than two seasons and is the only coach to win a division championship for the club. When he was fired, the Panthers were off to one of the worst starts in the league this year.
Saints Cut Kicker
Metairie, La. — The New Orleans Saints released kicker Garrett Hartley, two days after he had one field goal blocked and hooked another wide in a 27-16 loss at St. Louis.
Hartley has been with the Saints since the middle of the 2008 season and made several crucial kicks during the Saints’ 2009-10 run to a Super Bowl championship.