Sports briefs 12-18-13: LA man charged in coach prank calls

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LOS ANGELES -- A Los Angeles man has been criminally charged in connection with prank phone calls to professional and college coaches about jobs.

The Los Angeles County district attorney's office says 32-year-old Kenneth Edward Tarr was charged Tuesday with one felony count of eavesdropping for allegedly making illegal recordings of more than a half-dozen calls.

Tarr was arrested earlier this month and released on bail. A telephone listing for him could not be immediately located.

Prosecutors allege that Tarr pretended to be a representative of various teams and called a number of sports coaches to gauge their interest in taking jobs. Authorities say in at least one instance he offered the victim a coaching position.

Prosecutors say the targets were from the NBA, NFL, Major League Baseball and university football programs.

• Baseball

Balfour to Orioles: 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, who turns 36 on Dec. 30, went 1-3 with 38 saves in 41 opportunities with Oakland last season. He made $4.5 million with the Athletics in 2013. He had a 2.59 ERA and 72 strikeouts, with 27 walks in 62 2/3 innings.

Indians ink Treanor: Free agent veteran catcher Matt Treanor has signed a minor league contract with the Indians.

A career backup, Treanor has a .221 batting average with 18 homers and 129 RBIs in 468 games with the Marlins, Detroit, Texas, Kansas City and Los Angeles. He was drafted by the Royals in the fourth round in 1994.

Hit by luxury tax: The New York Yankees were hit with a $28 million luxury tax bill, pushing their total past the $250 million mark since the penalty began in 2003.

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. Boston finished just under for the second straight year, coming in $225,666 shy of the $178 million mark.

• Basketball

UConn hammers Duke: No. 1 Connecticut came into Cameron Indoor Stadium and did something no other team in women's basketball has been able to do.

The Huskies dominated Duke.

UConn routed the second-ranked Blue Devils 83-61 on Tuesday night behind 21 points and a career-high seven 3-pointers from Kaleena Mosqueda-Lewis in her first game back from an injury.

Blazers beat Cavs: Damian Lillard made a tiebreaking 3-pointer with 0.4 seconds remaining, lifting Portland to the road win.

Lillard had a career-high eight 3-pointers while scoring 36 points. The 2013 NBA Rookie of the Year also had a fadeaway jumper as time expired to give Portland a 111-109 overtime victory over Detroit on Sunday.

• Elsewhere

Change to biking?: A Massachusetts startup is launching a new device that transforms almost any bicycle into an electric-hybrid vehicle using an app on a smartphone.

The device uses wireless connectivity to communicate with the biker's smartphone to track distance traveled, elevation gained, share with friends the number of calories burned and lock the wheel remotely as soon as the owner walks away from the bike.

Wings fall to Ducks: Sami Vatanen had a goal and an assist, and Anaheim used a four-goal first period to extend its winning streak to six games with a 5-2 victory over Detroit.

Nick Bonino, Jakob Silfverberg, Corey Perry and Saku Koivu also scored for the Ducks. Andrew Cogliano had three assists and Jonas Hiller made 16 saves.

Woodley done: The Pittsburgh Steelers have placed linebacker LaMarr Woodley on injured reserve with his second significant calf injury of the season.

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