– CBS Sports’ Jon Heyman reports that the Mariners are “very close” to signing RHP Hisashi Iwakuma. The 30-year-old posted a 2.42 ERA and 90/19 K/BB ratio in 119 innings last season for the Rakuten Golden Eagles, but also missed some time with a shoulder injury.
– Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com reports that the Rays and RHP Fernando Rodney have agreed to a contract. Rodney told the AP last week that he will get $2M from the Rays, which was confirmed by Heyman. The 34-year-old posted a 4.50 ERA and an awful 26/28 K/BB ratio over 32 innings for the Angels last season.
– The Brewers will host a workout for Japanese OF Norichika Aoki this weekend in Phoenix. The Brewers won exclusive negotiating rights to Aoki, 29, last month with a posting fee of $2.5M. The two sides have until January 17 to work out a deal. Doug Melvin said, “We don’t have a lot of time. We want to withhold judgment on him until we’ve seen him. He’s more of a contact guy. We’ve had reports on him.”
– Tigers’ GM Dave Dombrowski told Lynn Henning of the Detroit News that they have no plans to trade top pitching prospect RHP Jacob Turner. The Tigers were believed to be floating Turner in a potential deal for Cubs’ RHP Matt Garza, but Dombrowski said no such offer has been made. “There’s been a lot of things written in recent weeks that have been totally incorrect. With (Gio) Gonzalez, that was one club (Oakland) that we were actively involved with in conversation. But we were just not prepared to give up what they wanted us to give up. I don’t think there is another call we’ve made in pursuing another starting pitcher.” Turner would likely be the front-runner for the fifth spot in the rotation.
– Joe Torre has resigned from his job as MLB executive vice president of baseball operations in order to pursue ownership of the Dodgers. Torre was hired in February of last year, so he only held the position for about 10 months. Joe Garagiola, Jr., Kim Ng and Peter Woodfork will handle his responsibilities until a full-time replacement is named. According to Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com, Torre will join a potential ownership group which is headed by Los Angeles real estate developer Rick Caruso. The 71-year-old compiled a 259-227 record (.553) while managing the Dodgers from 2008-2010.
– Giants’ C Buster Posey (ankle) resumed throwing and hitting Tuesday. Right on schedule. Posey was focused on cardiovascular work more recently, but performed the same baseball activities this fall at the Giants’ complex in Scottsdale. Barring any setbacks, the 24-year-old should be ready for spring training.
– Eagles’ TE Brent Celek (sports hernia/left hip) underwent concurrent surgeries Tuesday to repair a sports hernia as well as a torn labrum in his left hip. Celek finished with a 62/811/5 line. There’s no timeline for his return, and it may be optimistic to see him before training camp.
– Packers’ director of football operations Reggie McKenzie will reportedly interview for the Raiders’ GM job on Wednesday. Ex-Packers GM Ron Wolf is leading the Raiders’ search and “strongly advocating” for McKenzie, who would likely bring along Wolf’s son, Eliot, Green Bay’s assistant director of player personnel. McKenzie is also viewed as a front-runner for the Bears’ job.
– Spurs’ G Manu Ginobili (broken hand) will undergo surgery on Thursday and will be sidelined 6-8 weeks. He’ll get a plate and screws inserted into his hand.
– Grizzlies’ F Zach Randolph (torn right MCL) will miss up to 8 weeks. He will not require surgery and will be re-evaluated in two weeks.
– WWE officials are in the process of deciding the finish of the John Cena vs. The Rock match at WrestleMania. As of this weekend, the finish has been narrowed down to two potential scenarios. Speaking of Jericho, he will be working a full-time schedule for the organization. He is scheduled for this weekend’s Raw house shows in Tyler, Texas as well as the Raw live event tour in California the following week and then regularly shortly thereafter.
– According to the PWInsider, WWE officials planned to have Chris Jericho be the man behind the cryptic videos on RAW all along. Reports of Jericho being unhappy about not being featured in the WWE ’12 video game were made up to make insider fans think there was a rift between Jericho and WWE.
– The Ultimate Warrior took a shot at Kevin Nash this week on his Twitter. When asked by a fan why Warrior doesn’t dye his hair and have another run in WWE like Kevin Nash, Warrior replied:
“I’m not a dickhead who thrives on stealing the limelight from young guys.”
– WWE Hall of Famer Roddy Piper tweeted the following on Tuesday, implying he will be a part of the upcoming Legends House reality show on the WWE Network:
“How can you put 8 seasoned guys living together…lets hear the name of the guy that’s going to control them week 2.5. Not Vince! No Man! Telling you…things are going to get Very Real. Straight fact,I don’t like it..don’t tease me… don’t play with me…I bite, then bury!!!”
– According to the PWInsider, Mark Henry has been getting a lot praise backstage for working through his current injury. The former World Heavyweight champion has been in pain for some time and has turned down offers by WWE to take time off.
– WWE Hall of Fame announcer Jim Ross celebrated his 60th birthday on Tuesday by broadcasting the Oklahoma City Thunder’s NBA basketball game against the Portland Trailblazers. Ross was shown sporting a new goatee look along with his signature black cowboy hat. Check out these pictures of Jim Ross’ new look:
– According to the PWInsider, there’s a number of backstage news items from Monday’s RAW Supershow from Memphis:
The script for the show was changed several times throughout the day and was not finalized until around 7pm local time.
Chris Jericho’s WWE return was not on the booking sheets that were handed out before Monday’s RAW from Memphis. Once Jericho arrived backstage, there was no major effort made to keep his presence a secret.
As previously reported, Brodus Clay was backstage and there were plans to have him finally debut on television in a squash match, but his segment was bumped due to time constraints. Interim RAW GM John Laurinaitis teased on Twitter that Clay’s debut being pushed off again was all part of a plan – and the constant delays will be turned into a storyline. The plan is for Clay to eventually debut as an indestructible monster, similar to how Mark Henry was booked prior to his injury. It remains to be seen whether Clay will be on television before the Royal Rumble.
CM Punk was hurting when he returned backstage after his match against Dolph Ziggler. There is talk of him taking some time off to rest up.
The angle with Kane coming from under the ring was written about a week ago but officials didn’t know how they would get to it until the day of the show. The six-man elimination match was put together at the last minute. Officials wanted John Cena in the closing segment so there would be an “Indiana Jones-like” cliffhanger to end the show.
– The Nets “are looking to trade” for Kings’ F DeMarcus Cousins. The Kings, however, have said repeatedly that Cousins is not going to be traded. The Nets probably don’t have the assets to get a deal done.
– Panthers’ G Jose Theodore (knee) is expected to miss at least 2 weeks. Theodore has a 2.43 GAA and .918 SV% in 29 games this season.
– The Panthers have signed F John Madden to a 1-year contract. Madden had 12 goals and 25 points in 76 games with the Minnesota Wild last season.