– Cardinals’ OF Lance Berkman’s (right knee) surgery has been bumped to Friday due to a conflict with the surgeon’s schedule. Berkman is getting a scope to determine the extent of his knee injury. An MRI showed a meniscus tear, but there may also be ACL damage. The 36-year-old will likely miss the remainder of the season.
– According to Jon Heyman of CBS Sports, the Orioles have RHP Roy Oswalt on their “radar.” Oswalt’s two top destinations are the Cardinals and Rangers, but so far, neither has shown interest in signing him yet. Given that the O’s are showing interest, it’s possible that Oswalt has expanded his list to more than the two teams. The Red Sox and Phillies are also still in the mix.
– According to CBS Sports’ Jon Heyman, Marlins’ RHP Juan Carlos Oviedo has officially secured a work visa. Oviedo received a pardon from the U.S. State Department earlier this week, and is able to travel back to Florida to report to extended spring training in a few days. The 28-year-old is expected to get an 8-week suspension from the league upon his return.
– Phillies’ SS Jimmy Rollins (paternity list) will rejoin the team Thursday in St. Louis. Rollins has been away from the team since Monday after his wife gave birth to their first child Sunday.
– Brewers’ GM Bob Melvin told a Milwaukee radio station Thursday that RHP Marco Estrada (right hip flexor strain) will miss 3-4 starts. Estrada was injured while running the bases in Wednesday’s 8-5 loss to the Giants.
– Mariners’ OF Franklin Gutierrez (heel) threw and ran in front of team trainers Wednesday afternoon. He’s expected to begin playing in extended spring training games in Arizona on Sunday. Barring setbacks, he should be cleared to begin a minor league rehab assignment about one week later. The 29-year-old could return in early-June.
– Pacers’ F Danny Granger (ankle) will play in Game 6 against the Heat on Thursday. Granger will draw into the starting lineup, but his effectiveness remains to be seen, given that he’s at less than 100% health. That said, it could be more of a pick-me-up for the team, rather than his individual production.
– Celtics’ G Avery Bradley (shoulder) is questionable for the remainder of the playoffs. Celtics’ play-by-play man Sean Grande revealed on Twitter that Bradley’s status for the remainder of the postseason is in doubt. Stay tuned.
– Heat’ F Chris Bosh (abdominal strain) said that he’s healing at a “very fast rate right now.” He remains out indefinitely, and wouldn’t say when he could return, only that his strain has gotten “a lot better” and that he’s “come a far way in a week.” He’ll continue to be evaluated daily, but is still believed to be out for the remainder of the series.
– NFL.com’s Albert Breer reports that the Lions and unsigned franchise DE Cliff Avril are roughly $2M per year apart in long-term contract talks. ”The Lions have made several offers. Both nothing’s close.” Avril reportedly wants a $10M per year extension, and is believed to be looking at a 4-year/$42M contract with more than $20M guaranteed. In contrast, the Lions are reportedly offering a deal in the $8-9M range. Avril has a 1-year/$10.605M franchise tender still on the table.
– Dolphins’ coach Joe Philbin plans to announce a starting quarterback by Week 3 of the preseason at the latest. ”Your third preseason game is when your first unit is going to get the vast majority of snaps. If it’s clear earlier we’ll make a decision at that point in time, but I’d say by the third preseason game we’d like to have a unit established.” QB Matt Moore is believed to be the frontrunner.
– Updating a previous item, according to the Wrestling Observer, there are many backstage at WWE who are concerned about Raw permanently moving to a new 3-hour timeslot beginning July 23. Many are comparing the move to WCW Nitro expanding to 3-hours in 1997, a decision Eric Bischoff–as well as many fans–believe was the dominant factor as to why WCW died. According to the report, the new format for Raw is still being worked out, but the idea is that WWE plans to treat every Monday night like a Pay-Per-View event with fan interaction.
So far, the vast majority of the feedback regarding the move to three hours has been negative. WWE has had difficulty writing consistently entertaining two-hour Raw’s, and the feeling backstage is that if the extra hour is “more of the same,” the company runs the risk of burning out their talent, staff and fans. The USA Network has reportedly been pushing WWE to expand Raw to 3 hours for a number of years, but WWE has always decided against it. USA Network currently pays WWE roughly $700K a week per episode, so the move has financial benefit–an increase of $100K of weekly TV rights fees would mean $5.2M in new revenue for WWE.
– According to the Wrestling Observer, WWE issued a press release last month touting that WrestleMania 28 was the biggest WrestleMania of all time, with preliminary data showing the show did approximately 1.3 million buys. With more data coming in, the buyrate is now looking to be closer to 1.21 million buys. The final number will be reported at WWE’s next quarterly investor meeting.
In addition, early pay-per-view buyrate numbers are in for WWE’s Extreme Rules pay-per-view featuring John Cena vs. Brock Lesnar. Lesnar’s first WWE match in over 8 years helped WWE more than double the buyrate from 2011. This year’s Extreme Rules pay-per-view drew approximately 250,000 buys, based (147,000 domestic, 104,000 International) – way up from 108,000 buys in 2011.
– The Rock wrote on Twitter about G.I. Joe: Retaliation being moved back to WrestleMania 29 weekend, March 29, 2013:
“Commitment to make GI JOE a massive world event just got bigger. New release 3/29/13. Rock + Ass kickins + 3D = #AwwwwShit”
As previously reported, G.I. Joe has been moved so the project can be converted to maximize box office revenue and due to the stiff competition around its original release date from the new Avengers, Spiderman and Batman movies.
– According to the PWTorch, there remains no update on how Mark Henry’s recent surgery went, but he’s not expected to return to action until late June. Henry had been working through knee and groin problems over the past few months and tweeted on Wednesday night:
“What up twitter nation I’m healing well,no complaining from me I man up.”
– Cody Rhodes is the latest WWE superstar to get the attention of Paul Heyman on Twitter. After re-tweeting several messages from the former Intercontinental champion, Paul heyman wrote the following about the second generation superstar:
“#NowFollowing @CodyRhodesWWE Hey, don’t follow him. Be stuck in the past. ‘Cuz the future will be Living Out The Dream!”
– The latest WWE Magazine also hints that WrestleMania 30 will be held in “a city of Olympic proportions.”
– The latest issue of WWE Magazine features a new “insider news” column by The Informer, who revealed that a (male) American Idol runner-up is in negotiations to perform at this year’s SummerSlam pay-per-view. The general consensus is that it’s James Durbin, who is a huge pro wrestling fan and actually worked with WWE over WrestleMania 28 weekend in Miami doing charity & promotional work.
– Following his heel turn at Over The Limit, Big Show will be replacing Tensai and will team with John Laurinaitis against John Cena in handicap matches at several upcoming WWE live events.
– Jim Ross mentioned on Twitter that he was interviewed this week for the upcoming CM Punk DVD project that’s in the works. Ross also tweeted this week that he currently has no plans to appear at the 1,000th episode of WWE RAW on July 23.
– WWE officials have been impressed with the Rotunda brothers, Taylor and Windham, according to the Wrestling Observer Newsletter. Taylor Rotunda worked the recent NXT tapings from Full Sail University as Bo Dallas while he former Husky Harris worked the tapings using his new religious gimmick, Bray Wyatt.
– After more flight delays, the WWE RAW crew finally arrived in Brazil around 3am Eastern time early Thursday morning. WWE will hold its first-ever show in Brazil tonight from Sao Paul before heading to Ecuador for a live event tomorrow night.
– After recently being released by WWE, Goldust announced on Twitter that he’s getting married soon. He is taking independent bookings and might travel to Japan to wrestle, but made it clear that he’s not interested in doing radio appearances. He tweeted, “Im not bitter so go ask someone else.”
– Shane Douglas’ new Extreme Reunion promotion has been renamed and will now be known as Extreme Rising. Extreme Rising’s New York City debut will take place on June 29th in Corona, Queens at the Elmcor Youth & Adult Activities Center. Tickets go on sale this Monday.