– Appearing on Bill Simmons’ BS Report, NFL Network’s Mike Lombardi said people who are catching Colts’ QB Peyton Manning’s (neck surgeries) passes as he rehabs say Manning not only lacks velocity, but can’t throw to his left. ”He can’t throw the ball. I’ve talked to people who’ve caught the ball for him. He can’t throw the ball to his left. He can’t throw the ball across his body, because he doesn’t feel it. People that catch the ball for him say he doesn’t really have velocity on the ball yet.” Lombardi says he’s skeptical of any franchise hinging its hopes on Manning. Manning will hopefully regain feeling in his arm as the nerve regenerates.
– Cardinals’ RHP Adam Wainwright (elbow) has resumed facing hitters since reporting to the Cardinals’ spring training complex in Jupiter, Florida last month. Wainwright, who missed the entire 2011 season following Tommy John surgery, has thrown about every third day since arriving to camp and estimates that he’s throwing his fastball about 90 percent effort. “I just feel really good. I feel strong. I feel ready to go. It’s one of the things where the power of understatement can be really great. But at the same time Cardinal fans should know that I’m feeling pretty danged good.” He should be able to reach his goal of being ready for Opening Day, barring setbacks.
– Peter Gammons of MLB Network reports that Athletics’ RHP Rich Harden (shoulder) had surgery last week to repair a torn capsule muscle and will miss the entire 2012 season. Gammons said on MLB Network on Wednesday that the surgery was performed by Dr. James Andrews. The rehab process from a torn capsule can be tricky (see: Chien-Ming Wang and Johan Santana for two prominent recent examples), but he’s aiming to come back healthy in 2013. Harden, 30, posted a 5.12 ERA and 91/31 K/BB ratio over 82 2/3 innings for the A’s last season.
– RHP Tim Wakefield’s agent, Barry Meister, told Scott Lauber of the Boston Herald on Thursday that the knuckleballer will make a decision within the next few days whether he’ll continue his playing career in 2012. ”We’re discussing the options — and he has some options — and over the next few days, we’re going to try to figure it out. These next few days is just a period of introspection, where he’s trying to decide what to do, whether to play, who to play for.” Wakefield wants to pitch one more season in Boston, but there doesn’t appear to be a spot for him. Meister said Wednesday that his client hasn’t ruled anything out, including possibly accepting a minor league deal with a spring training invite. The 45-year-old had a 5.12 ERA and 93/47 K/BB ratio over 154 2/3 innings last year.
– The Rangers have signed OF Nelson Cruz to a 2-year contract, avoiding arbitration. Cruz, who was arbitration-eligible for the second time this winter, filed for $7.5M and was offered $5.5M when arbitration figures were exchanged last month.
– Updated advertising for the March 12 Raw SuperShow at the Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland, Ohio confirms a bout pitting The Undertaker and Triple H at WrestleMania. The description on the official website of the Quicken Loans Arena says, “What will HBK have to say about the confrontation between his long-time friend (Triple H) and WrestleMania foe (The Undertaker)?”
– Former WWE performer Dave Bautista (aka Batista) will be playing the role of Diaz in the upcoming Chronicles of Riddick 2 movie starring Vin Diesel, according to The Hollywood Reporter. He will appear in “9/10ths of the film” once filming and editing is complete.
– WWE Hall of Famer “Rowdy” Roddy Piper told MiamiHerald.com this week that he’ll be at WrestleMania 28 on April 1.
“I’ll be at WrestleMania. Let’s just put it that way.”
Piper has been campaigning for months to host a special edition of Piper’s Pit with John Cena and The Rock as his guests. Piper tells the Herald that “Piper’s Pit with Cena and The Rock would get huge ratings” and “It would help WrestleMania 28 itself, but more than that, with the exception of me who started 14 years before the WWE, everyone in that ring has been made by wrestling.” Piper says he wants to feature The Rock and John Cena on Piper’s Pit because it’s a chance to showcase to the world what WWE is all about:
“Why Cena and The Rock? Well, you can bring things they’ve done outside our industry back into our industry during the Pit. It’s a statement I’m looking for. The statement is WWE is right up there with every other entertainment group in the world or better. That is the statement I would like to come out of that Piper’s Pit. It’s not for me. I have had a lot of Piper’s Pits. I look at the roster, and I can really make that roll.”
“I thought that alone would show the strength and prestige that WWE has come up to from where we started. The entertainment value alone with all of us in there, there is no downside to it. It would make a huge statement to the entertainment business all around the world of how strong we really are.”
– Raptors’ GM Bryan Colangelo said that F Andrea Bargnani (calf) will remain out for an “extended period.” Bargnani has now missed eight games since aggravating his calf injury. BC didn’t provide any sort of timetable for Il Mago’s potential return, but the team won’t rush him back until he’s 100%.
– Flyers’ D Matt Carle has expressed re-signing with the team this summer when he becomes a UFA. ”The general consensus is that hopefully something works out here. That’s what my main focus is, wanting to be here. My wife and I love it here. Looking back on it, getting traded here [from Tampa Bay] was a huge blessing in disguise. This organization is a place where, no matter what, they’re going to be making moves to be a contender. You want to be a part of an organization that is committed to that.” Carle has become the ice time leader in Philly with D Chris Pronger out, averaging just over 23 minutes per game. He has four goals and 28 points in 53 games, while blocking 104 shots.