– Blue Jays’ 3B Brett Lawrie has been suspended 4 games and fined an undisclosed amount for spiking his helmet at home plate umpire Bill Miller. The incident happened Tuesday night after Miller made consecutive questionable called strike calls in the ninth inning of a one-run game. Lawrie is appealing the suspension and will continue playing until a decision is made. It’s unlikely his punishment will be reduced.
“In a nutshell, it’s just I didn’t mean to hit him. I feel I have the right to explain my side of the story about what happened.”
“I’m just playing the game the way I’ve always played it. That’s the passion that I have for the game and I don’t feel like I need to change anything. The only thing I would change is maybe not throw the helmet or throw any equipment towards an umpire because you know you can get an unlucky hop and have kind of the mess that’s going on right now.”
– Red Sox’ RHP Daisuke Matsuzaka (elbow) likely won’t be ready to rejoin the team after his next two rehab starts, according to manager Bobby Valentine. It will be the end of his 30-day rehab assignment, but if the Red Sox don’t think he’s ready, they can place him back on the DL and begin a new rehab assignment. “I don’t think he’s all that close to pitching in the major league. Not until he’s ready. It’s not the calendar that’s going to dictate whether or not a guy pitches in the major leagues.” Dice-K is still also working on his mechanics. He’s likely out through May.
– Phillies’ 2B Chase Utley (knee) fielded grounders Wednesday for the first time since rejoining the team on May 5. How his knee responds has yet to be determined, but he’ll need to field and run at 100% before a timetable is released. At best, he could return by mid-June.
– Red Sox’ RHP Andrew Bailey (thumb) is expected to begin a throwing program next week. Bailey had a checkup Wednesday with Dr. Thomas Graham. Bailey is hoping to join the Red Sox near the All-Star break, and should become the closer immediately upon his return.
– Nationals’ C Wilson Ramos (torn right ACL) said Wednesday that he expects to undergo surgery in 2-3 weeks. Ramos also confirmed that he will not return this season. Ramos batted .265/.354/.398 with three home runs and 10 RBI in 25 games this season. C Jesus Flores will assume the starting job.
– Nationals’ OF Michael Morse (lat) made 60 throws Wednesday. It was the first time Morse had touched a baseball in several weeks. “I haven’t been throwing, so it was kind of like a monkey riding a bike.” Morse is targeting a June 8 return.
– Reds’ manager Dusty Baker said Wednesday that the plan is for LHP Aroldis Chapman to start “someday,” but not likely anytime soon. Chapman has a sparkling 0.00 ERA and 32/5 K/BB ratio in 18 1/3 innings of relief this season.
– The Rays have transferred RHP Jeff Niemann (fractured right fibula) to the 60-day DL. The Rays initially provided a 4-6 week timetable for Niemann, who suffered the injury on Monday, but he’ll have to sit out at least two months now.
– Mets’ manager Terry Collins indicated Tuesday that Jason Bay (rib) will get his starting left field job back when he returns from the DL. ”Absolutely. He didn’t come here to be an extra player.” Bay was recently cleared for baseball activities, but is likely about 2 weeks away from being activated. The 33-year-old was hitting .240 with three homers and a .776 OPS over his first 50 at-bats prior to suffering a non-displaced fractured rib on April 23.
– The Phillies have placed RHP Vance Worley (right elbow) on the 15-day DL retroactive to May 12. A Wednesday MRI revealed no structural damage, so he should be activated after the minimum stay. The 24-year-old has registered a strong 3.07 ERA and 45/15 K/BB ratio through 44 innings this season.
– Major League Baseball announced Wednesday that the 2013 All-Star game will be hosted by the New York Mets at Citi Field on July 16, the latest date for the game since 1985. The Mets last hosted the All-Stars in 1964, the year Shea Stadium opened, when Johnny Callison’s three-run homer capped a four-run ninth inning and gave the NL a 7-4 win. The game was last in New York in 2008, the final season of the old Yankee Stadium, when the AL won 4-3 in 15 innings.
– Padres’ OF Carlos Quentin (right knee) received a cortisone shot Tuesday. Quentin has been shut down from his rehab assignment after experiencing soreness in his surgically-repaired knee last week. He should be able to resume it in a few days, and a return before the end of the month remains possible.
– Brian McNamee has conceded that the first time Roger Clemens asked for help with a “booty shot,” the pitcher did not specifically use the word “steroids.” Under cross-examination from Clemens’ lawyer, McNamee said that he assumed Clemens was referring to steroids when asking for the shot while pitching for the Toronto Blue Jays in 1998. McNamee said he was under the impression Clemens was already doing steroids. Clemens lawyer Rusty Hardin challenged why McNamee thought that. McNamee responded that he had no physical evidence, but he referenced a conversation he overheard Clemens have with another player, Jose Canseco, but could not provide specifics. Clemens’ request for help came less than a month before the date on which McNamee says he gave Clemens his first injection.
– The Rays have acquired OF Rich Thompson from the Phillies for OF Kyle Hudson. The 33-year-old Thompson has spent 13 seasons in the minor leagues. He has not appeared in the majors since 2004, when he was with the Royals for six games. He was batting .307 with no homers and 11 RBIs in 29 games for Triple-A Lehigh Valley this season.
– Updating a previous item, there is currently a lot of scrambling behind the scenes regarding Brock Lesnar’s storyline with Triple H and how the angle will play out. After original plans called for a Brock Lesnar vs. Triple H grudge match at SummerSlam in August, WWE officials are now talking about holding the match at July’s Money In The Bank PPV or even as early as No Way Out next month. The main issue that’s causing all the problems is the fact that Brock Lesnar’s WWE contract only requires him to make a limited number of appearances. WWE has already burned through 5 of them (4 RAWs and his match at Extreme Rules) and has a certain number set aside for the build to WrestleMania 29 next year. It’s believed that WWE only has around 24 dates to use Lesnar this year, so they have been changing their plans a lot trying to figure out how to best use him.
– With the news of John Cena’s divorce becoming public last week, there are those who believe it’s going to get ugly very soon. Cena’s wife signed a very restrictive prenuptial agreement in 2009 and recently turned down a financial settlement offer. Many expect Cena’s ex to “make some noise” (talking to TMZ, writing a tell-all book) in hopes of getting paid off to go away. Stay tuned.
– Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson has made Forbes Magazine’s list of the 100 most powerful celebrities in the world. Forbes.com has an article up looking at The Rock being one of Hollywood’s most bankable action movie stars (having grossed over $2.3B) and his reputation for saving movie franchises (Fast and Furious, Journey to the Center of the Earth, and now GI Joe). Forbes estimates that The Rock made over $36M over the last 12 months, and it doesn’t specify if that includes the millions (and millions) he’s made from working with WWE and main eventing their most-watched pay-per-view of all time, WrestleMania 28. The article states that movie producers love The Rock’s willingness to travel in order to promote his movie, which Rock credits to his wrestling background.
“That’s the wonderful part about being in this business. I love knowing the audience and listening to the audience. Oh, and kicking a little ass, too.”
Rock also noted he and his manager, ex-wife Dany Garcia, changed their approach to Rock’s wrestling background. “It reached a point where I felt that instead of me trying to conform to Hollywood, I needed to have Hollywood conform to me and embrace my past.” The article states that The Rock’s former management team forced him to stop talking about wrestling, and his decision to return to WWE included firing those same agents.
– Mark Henry announced on Twitter this week that he was undergoing Surgery on Tuesday and would retire if he could no longer compete at his best. No word yet on how the procedure went, but it’s worth noting that Henry is not advertised for any WWE live events until RAW on June 25.
– WWE.com has begun hyping the 1,000th episode of Monday Night RAW, which will take place on July 23. Leading up to the milestone show, WWE.com will be looking back at RAW’s most memorable moments and interviewing past and present WWE superstars about the big show. It’s worth noting that based on WWE promoting August 23, 2010 episode of RAW as the 900th episode; the July 23 show will actually be episode #999, not 1,000. It’s unknown how WWE arrived at July 23 as the 1,000th episode, but keep in mind, this is the same company that hyped WrestleMania 25 as the “25th Anniversary of WrestleMania” (WrestleMania 25 was actually the 24th anniversary).
– The following matches booked for upcoming live events give an idea of the feuds WWE will be going with after Sunday’s Over The Limit pay-per-view:
CM Punk vs. Daniel Bryan is advertised for the June 4th RAW Supershow from Greenville, South Carolina.
John Cena is scheduled to face Lord Tensai and John Laurinaitis in handicap matches at RAW live events.
Sheamus vs. Alberto Del Rio in Last Man Standing matches are advertised for SmackDown live events.
– Despite his “firing” on Monday’s RAW, Big Show is currently advertised for WWE’s upcoming tour of Mexico and all SmackDown tapings and live events in June.
– WWE video game publisher THQ has released its quarterly earnings report for for the fourth quarter and fiscal year ended March 31, 2012, including sales data for the WWE ’12 video game. From THQ’s press release:
WWE ’12 has shipped more than 2.2 million units since its launch in November 2011. The successful rebranding of this annual franchise has led to higher sell-through to date, which is up approximately 20 percent on like-for-like platforms in North America versus the year-ago title.
The stock market is not reacting well to THQ’s year-end report, down almost 12% today.
– Ted DiBiase announced on Twitter that he and his wife welcomed a healthy new baby boy yesterday – Tate McKinley DiBiase.
– Former WWE & TNA star Matt Hardy telling fans that he is currently in a much better place after a very chaotic time in his life. In a message posted to Facebook on Tuesday night, Hardy claims to have focus and perspective and says he has a better understanding of his life than ever:
“There’s been times in the past that I’ve had focus & perspective, and it’s served me well.. But currently in life, I have focus, perspective, & experience-and I have a better understanding of my life than I ever have. I no longer have any unanswered questions about who I am or what I need to do to be comfortable in my own skin. I am fulfilled, I am whole, and I am at peace with myself and everyone else. As ironic as it seems, traveling through the dark showed me how much I love the light. I still have a few lingering wildfires that I started in the past that I have to address and put out.. And I will. When I say I no longer have boundaries, it’s because the only boundary that was holding me back in life was me. Now I can be what I’ve always been destined to be. God bless us all.”
Hardy also posted his latest YouTube video:
– The ongoing beef between Scott Steiner, Hulk Hogan and Eric Bischoff continues to escalate. Steiner tweeted this week that he was contacted by Hogan and Bischoff’s lawyers – and now Hulk Hogan has clarified that they were actually TNA’s lawyers that Steiner heard from. Hogan wrote on Twitter that Steiner is a lair and it’s “time to call his guys in” to shut him up:
“Tried to be cool,not only a clown but also a liar.those weren’t my lawyers they were TNA lawyers.well I guess it’s time to call my guys in,”
“I really hope he saved his money or is making tons from the independents he’s working because it’s gonna get expensive,maby he’s smart enough to at least figure it out when it starts getting real,what a shame,what a waste of a great talent,but u can’t tell an idiot their an Idiot. It’s really sad when you really thought someone was really cool. HH”
– Coyotes’ F Martin Hanzal has been suspended 1 game for his boarding major on Kings’ F Dustin Brown in Game 2 of the Western Conference Finals. The incident occurred at 11:01 of the third period. Hanzal was assessed a five-minute major penalty for boarding and a game misconduct on the play. He will miss Game 3 in LA on Thursday night. Hanzal was given a game misconduct on the play. He has three goals and five points in 10 postseason contests.
Meanwhile, Coyotes’ F Shane Doan won’t be disciplined for his boarding major on Kings’ F Trevor Lewis in Game 2. League disciplinarian Brendan Shanahan ruled that Lewis turned right before Doan made contact. Doan was given a five-minute major for boarding and a game misconduct late in the second period. He has seven points in 13 playoff games. Also, Coyotes’ D Derek Morris was not suspended for his knee-on-knee hit with Kings’ D Rob Scuderi.
– Capitals’ G Tomas Vokoun is not expected to re-sign with the Capitals this summer. The 35-year-old impending UFA will likely be replaced permanently by G Braden Holtby, with G Michael Neuvirth as his backup. “I wasn’t planning on being back here anyways. For me, it was never intention to be here more than a year.” His agent commented that his client’s preference is to stay in the NHL despite rumours that he may head overseas for the KHL.
– According to Stars’ goalie coach Mike Valley, Team Finland’ G Kari Lehtonen’s undisclosed injury at the World Championships isn’t serious. ”They’re still looking at everything, and there has been a lot of communication between doctors there and our trainer. They’re not 100% sure what the injury is, but I’ve been told it is not a serious injury.” Lehtonen was hurt after a collision with Team USA F Bobby Ryan on Sunday and won’t play again in the tournament.
– According to CBC, Sharks’ head coach Todd McLellan will maintain in his position next season. CBC reported that McLellan was told three days after the Sharks were eliminated from the playoffs that he would be back behind the bench. The team is projected to be make changes to their assistant staff though, with former Sharks Mike Ricci and Bryan Marchment being mentioned as possible replacements.
– Check out this funny error by NHL Network, saying Rangers’ F Brad Richards had “2 shits” against the Devils in Game 1:
– Avalanche’ F Milan Hejduk has reportedly had ongoing dialogue between with the Avalanche in regards to an extension. The 36-year-old is hoping to play at least one more season, preferably with the Avs. The impending UFA has played all 991 of his career games in the NHL with the franchise. Hejduk posted a career-low 37 points in 81 games in 2011-12.
– Capitals’ impending UFA D Dennis Wideman has expressed interest in re-signing with the Caps. ”Obviously, I like it here. I’ve had a lot of fun here in the last year. I like where we’re going, the core group of guys is really, really good. So why not? I’d love to be back.” Wideman had a poor playoffs, scoring no goals, three assists and a minus-7 rating in 14 games. His regular season was much better, with 11 goals and 46 points in 82 contests. He also averaged 23:54 of ice time per game and posted 113 hits, with 132 blocked shots.
– Architects unveiled for city councillors design sketches and a conceptual video walk-through of the proposed $450M facility in downtown Edmonton as the Oilers potential new home. The sketches, leaked to the media weeks earlier, show a futuristic building of wavy lines and curves in zinc, masonry and lots and lots of glass. The building’s shape is meant to resemble an oil drop — to honour the name of the team and the province’s core industry — but practical design functions leave it looking more like a bulbous, backwards letter P. The rink, which would hold 18,400 for an Oilers game, would be inside the circle of the P. A grand foyer would jut out in a straight line below.
– Devils’ F Jacob Josefson (fractured wrist) skated on his own Tuesday, and he is progressing well after being sidelined since April 3. He is hoping to return before the end of the conference finals and is “getting better and better every day, and the strength is almost back and the [range of] motion almost normal,” according to coach Peter DeBoer. Josefson is awaiting clearance to resume practicing.
– Saints’ unsigned franchise QB Drew Brees called his contract talks with the team “extremely frustrating” on Wednesday. The sides have made no progress since the winter. “It’s been extremely frustrating for me. I don’t think the negotiation should have been this difficult. … We’ve reached out on a number of occasions and at times I’ve been frustrated by the lack of response.” Brees also questioned the team’s “urgency” to do a deal. Stay tuned.
– A thief burglarized the garage of Junior Seau’s home days after the former NFL star’s suicide, police said Wednesday. The burglary occurred in Seau’s garage at about 2 p.m. on May 7, Lt. Leonard Mata said. The crook took a $500 bicycle belonging to a friend of Seau and left through the garage door. No arrest had been made as of Wednesday. ”Somehow they forced the doggy door open so they squeezed through.”
– Titans’ WR Kenny Britt (right knee) is undergoing a second surgery on Wednesday. Britt initially had his right ACL and MCL reconstructed early last October, so this is his second surgery in just over seven months. Beat writer Jim Wyatt cautions that the latest operation is “arthroscopic,” and Britt only had a “minor issue” in his recovery. GM Ruston Webster called the second surgery “commonplace,” and “hopes” Britt will be back for Week 1.
– Former NFL DE Johnny Jolly has been given 10 years of ‘shock’ probation by a judge, just 6 months after he was sentenced to prison for violating terms of his probation for a drug conviction. Jolly, 29, is serving an indefinite suspension from the NFL. His contract with the Green Bay Packers ran out after the 2011 season. The former Texas A&M star faced drug charges in Houston after his July 2008 arrest outside a club for possession of at least 200 grams of codeine. Jolly was then charged last year with possession of a compound containing codeine, a controlled substance, after a traffic stop in Houston in October. He also was charged with tampering with evidence for attempting to conceal the substance from the investigating officers. Jolly was sentenced to six years in prison last November by State District Judge Denise Bradley. Jolly applied for “shock probation,” which allows convicts to ask to be released early on probation after experiencing the shock or trauma of being in jail. Bradley gave Jolly the shock probation this week, along with 200 hours of community service. He was also ordered to pay a $500 fine.
– A Texas judge has ordered Hall of Famer Deion Sanders to pay $10,550 in monthly child support as part of his divorce. Sanders and his estranged wife, Pilar, agreed Tuesday to share custody of their three children for the summer. The judge in McKinney ordered the ex-Dallas Cowboy to pay $3,500 a month for a house where his estranged wife now lives and where their children will sometimes stay. Sanders, who’s an NFL Network analyst, also must pay $275K in his spouse’s recent legal fees. Pilar Sanders had also sought $14K in monthly spousal support. The couple previously shared a mansion in Prosper. An April 23 scuffle at the house led to allegations of assault by both parties. A judge ruled neither committed domestic violence.
– The Steelers have officially moved RT Willie Colon to left guard. ”I’ve made the transition to left guard. I like it. It’s just a matter of learning the verbiage.”
– Pacers’ executive Larry Bird has been named the NBA’s Executive of the Year. Bird becomes the first person in history to ever win an MVP award, Coach of the Year and Executive of the Year. The three-time MVP and Hall of Famer received 12 first-place votes and 88 total points from a panel of team executives throughout the NBA. San Antonio’s R.C. Buford (56 points) finished a distant second, followed by Los Angeles Clippers GM Neil Olshey (55).
– Nuggets’ F Al Harrington (right knee meniscus) underwent surgery on Wednesday, but is expected to be back on the court in time for summer workouts. Harrington suffered the injury in a win over the Magic on April 1, but played through the persistent pain down the stretch. He averaged 14 points and six rebounds during the regular season. Harrington also broke his nose in the series after catching an inadvertent elbow from Lakers’ F Andrew Bynum as they battled for a rebound.
– Lakers’ F Devin Ebanks and F Andrew Bynum have been fined $25K and $15K, respectively, for separate violations during the team’s second-round series against Oklahoma City. Ebanks was fined for his actions before and after his ejection in the Lakers’ 119-90 loss in Game 1 on Monday. He was thrown out for saying something to an official in getting a technical foul, then ripped off his jersey as he walked back toward the locker room. Bynum was penalized for not making himself available to the media following practice on Tuesday. He did talk to reporters after the team’s morning shootaround Wednesday, saying it was to make up for not speaking the day before.
– Following his victory at the 2012 Madrid Open, world No. 2 Roger Federer received a black “Men in Black” suit from actor Will Smith, just in time for the new MIB III. Check it out:
– UFC middleweight fighter Chael Sonnen joined Joe Rogan on “The Joe Rogan Experience” podcast and said that seeing a sports psychologist changed his career. The 35-year old, who is set to fight Anderson Silva at UFC 148 in July, said he went from a top 10 middleweight to a title contender after seeing the sports psychologist.
“So when I started seeing a sports psychologist and I finally came clean, it’s like being an alcoholic, before you can get help, you have to admit you have a problem. When I finally admitted I got a problem, when I finally said, it, when I finally could acknowledge it and look somebody in the eye and tell them this is what’s going on, I’m finding a way to lose as opposed to win. I work harder than these guys. I been at this longer, I know how to stop submissions, I’m finding my way into them, I’m finding a way out and that’s what’s happening. I had to acknowledge that and once I did it, I never lost again.”
Here is the full transcript of what Sonnen said courtesy of MMAMania.com:
“For me, I had a fight with Yushin Okami who was ranked number two in the world and I was one of those guys that was kind of looked at in the top 10. That was right before I fought Nate Marquardt and it gave me a lot of confidence, but here is what happened Joe. I have never lost a round of fighting, and when I say that, sometimes a guy will laugh because I have lost fights. But, I’ve never lost a round. I’ve never had a fight where a judge ever scored a round against me until my last match with Bisping. At the point of your story, though, I sit down one day, and I’m on Sherdog.com, and I’m looking at my record. I’ve won every round I have ever fought. I’ve never been in a tough fight. I’ve never had stitches, I’ve never broken anything, I have dominated everybody and I’ve lost eight fights, and I’ve lost all of them by submission and I’ve lost all of them in the second round. And I’m staring at that on the computer and I’m staring at these numbers like a CEO would his spreadsheet. And I’m saying, ‘There is something going on here and it’s not physical. There is something going on that I can dominate eight minutes of a fight, seven minutes of a fight, nine minutes of a fight and find a way out time after time after time in the same round with the same move.’ So, I went and got help. I went and got professional help and I sought out a doctor, Ed Versteeg. I hate talking about this because this was a real secret. This was a real turning point for me was when I went in, worked on sports psychology and got hypnotized. I was never the same. I was never the same in practice, my attitude was different. Controlling my diet, being discipline, falling asleep, the way I approached battle, the way I approached the second round. Everything changed, and it changed to the point where, I hate to say what I just said and now it’s too late because I felt like it was my secret. I discovered something and I don’t want other people to know. I will write about it someday in a book, I will talk about it you know, when I’m retired , but I’m not going to tell anybody because it’s competitive edge. So when I started seeing a sports psychologist and I finally came clean, it’s like being an alcoholic, before you can get help, you have to admit you have a problem. When I finally admitted I got a problem, when I finally said, it, when I finally could acknowledge it and look somebody in the eye and tell them this is what’s going on, I’m finding a way to lose as opposed to win. I work harder than these guys. I been at this longer, I know how to stop submissions, I’m finding my way into them, I’m finding a way out and that’s what’s happening. I had to acknowledge that and once I did it, I never lost again. I lost to Paulo which was the controversial one and then I lost to Anderson after dominating him, I’ve never been beat since I saw this doctor.”
– A massive line brawl broke out between the Nanaimo Timbermen and Coquitlam Adanacs broke out this weekend. Check out the craziness: