– Former MLB RHP Roger Clemens was acquitted Monday on all charges that he obstructed and lied to Congress in denying he used performance-enhancing drugs to extend his long career as one of the greatest and most-decorated pitchers in baseball history. ”I’m very thankful. It’s been a hard five years.”Jurors returned their verdict after less than 10 hours over several days. The outcome ended a 10-week trial that capped the government’s investigation of the pitcher known as “The Rocket” for the fastball that he retained into his 40s. He won seven Cy Young Awards, emblematic of the league’s best pitcher each year in a 24-year career with the Red Sox, Yankees, Blue Jays and Astros.
– Blue Jays’ RHP Kyle Drabek (torn right UCL) is scheduled to undergo Tommy John surgery Tuesday. This will be the second Tommy John surgery of his brief career. He’ll miss the rest of the season and the early portion of 2013, as well.
– A high-ranking official with a NL club told Ken Rosenthal and Jon Morosi of FOXSports.com that Red Sox’ 3B Kevin Youkilis is “being shopped everywhere.” Rosenthal and Morosi report that D’Backs, White Sox, Dodgers, Indians and Pirates are “among the teams with varying levels of interest.” Youkilis is batting just .215/.301/.341 while making $12M. Unless he can stay healthy and go through an offensive burst, his value will be less than its’s supposed to be. Any Youkilis trade would mean 3B Will Middlebrooks is promoted to the starting gig.
– According to FOX Sports’ Jon Paul Morosi, DH Vladimir Guerrero is not close to signing with any club. The 37-year-old was 10-for-33 (.303) at Triple-A Las Vegas.
– Cardinals’ RHP Chris Carpenter (shoulder) could throw live batting practice to teammates by this weekend. Carpenter had a third successful bullpen session Monday and will be cleared to face hitters if he can get through another session Wednesday without issues. Joe Strauss of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports that Carp “prefers to downplay” the results of his throwing sessions, however, the early indications are “overwhelmingly positive.” Carp could return soon after the All-Star break, barring setbacks.
– D’Backs’ manager Kirk Gibson said Monday that SS Stephen Drew (ankle) could return as a part-time player. Drew would start once every three days and come off the bench for the remainder of the games. The 28-year-old just recently played three straight minor league rehab games.
– The Cubs have placed RHP Ryan Dempster (right lat tightness) on the 15-day DL retroactive to June 16. Dempster hasn’t allowed a run in three straight starts and currently has a 2.11 ERA and 66/22 K/BB ratio over 81 innings this season. He remains a trade candidate at the deadline.
– Cardinals’ OF Jon Jay (shoulder) is scheduled to begin a minor league rehab assignment Wednesday at Triple-A Memphis. Jay was able to take batting practice and run the bases over the weekend, and has been cleared to begin appearing in minor league games. The 27-year-old was placed on the DL in mid-May with a shoulder sprain. He was batting .343/.395/.438 in 27 games before the sudden injury.
– Royals’ RHP Felipe Paulino (groin) threw a successful bullpen session Sunday at St. Louis’ Busch Stadium. He’s scheduled to rejoin the Royals’ starting rotation on June 25 for the start of a three-game series against the Rays. He had a strong 1.67 ERA and 39/15 K/BB ratio in 37 2/3 innings before suffering a strained right groin in early-June.
– CM Punk’s current WWE Title reign is now the longest since John Cena’s reign from September 17th, 2006 to October 2nd, 2007–however, according to F4WOnline, it’s becoming increasingly apparent that WWE is not entirely sold on long term title reign for the Chicago native. Once again, WWE officials came very close to having CM Punk drop the WWE Championship to Daniel Bryan. Sunday’s No Way Out pay-per-view was the second consecutive event that WWE nearly pulled the trigger on the title switch. While WWE is said to be very pleased with the way Punk has performed as champion (despite his title defenses not main eventing WWE PPVs), the company is also very high on Daniel Bryan and there is a feeling that more money could be made with Punk chasing Bryan for the championship.
– Former WWE diva Stacy Keibler is rumored to be pregnant with George Clooney’s child. Keibler was spotted at Clooney’s Lake Cuomo getaway over the weekend with what appeared to be a “baby bump.” A rep for Keibler had “no comment” for TMZ when asked about the possible pregnancy.
– Counting down to five days remaining on his thirty-day WWE suspension due to denigrating the Brazilian flag at a WWE live event in São Paulo on May 24, Chris Jericho referenced King Kong Bundy’s tendency to demand a five count for pinfalls whenever he dominated his opponent in a squash match:
“I…WANT…5!!!!” -King Kong Bundy @RealKKBundy
– At Sunday’s WWE No Way Out pay-per-view, John Cena defeated Big Show in their main event steel cage match to save his job and send John Laurinaitis packing. Shortly after Vince McMahon fired Laurinaitis, WWE.com posted a backstage video of the former RAW General Manager recovering from his post-match beatdown by Cena. Jinder Mahal and Sakamoto came in and The Great Khali also appeared, offered to shake Laurinaitis’ hand before pulling it away. The segment ended with Khali, Mahal and Sakamoto dancing around. While John Laurinaitis was fired as the General Manager of RAW, he’s is still being advertised for tonight’s RAW and all WWE live events through the summer. In what could be a spoiler regarding his new role in WWE, he’s listed as the new “Assistant to the WWE Board of Directors.”
– Dean Ambrose was back on the road with WWE again this weekend, working against Alex Riley at RAW brand live events. WWE Champion CM Punk tweeted the image to the right (click to enlarge) of Ambrose walking out to the ring and called him “our secret weapon.” Punk also re-tweeted a comment from former ROH booker Gabe Sapolsky that said:
Seeing @CMPunk tweet about @TheDeanAmbrose is a trip. 2 of my favorites from differest eras of my career. Similar, but very different
– According to the Wrestling Observer, WWE did not draw a big crowd for for No Way Out at the IZOD Center. Several upper level sections were tarped off, and there were a lot of empty seats throughout the entire arena, even as close as ringside. Attendance was estimated at under 12,000.
– Since returning to WWE, Tensai has often been subject to ridiculing chants referencing his past persona, A-Train, which talent are forbidden from acknowledging on-air. Contrary to popular belief, Tensai says he’s not bothered by them.
@GiantBernard do the Albert chants ever annoy you? They annoy the hell out of me.
@CMPuLs3 Not at all. Why would they? It’s who I was. Glad they remember.
Tensai was also asked what happened to his short-lived Hip Hop Hippo gimmick. He replied:
@GiantBernard I miss the Hip Hop Hippo.. what happened to that guy?
@Maddmooish He got future endeavored.
– Former TNA star Amazing Red was backstage for WWE’s No Way Out pay-per-view on Sunday. The former X Division champion Red was telling fans at the arena that he had a tryout earlier in the day.
– New York City radio DJ Peter Rosenberg of the Hot 97 hip hop radio station has landed yet another exclusive interview with a WWE superstar – Daniel Bryan. Check it out:
– Paul Heyman’s “Heyman Hustle” site has released another promo video featuring Mike Tyson, who talks about “returning to the ring.” It’s believed that the videos are hyping Tyson being a playable character in the upcoming WWE ’13 video game:
– Friday’s SmackDown a 1.75 cable rating, up just a bit from the previous week. The show averaged 2.41 million viewers, which is actually down from the week before.
– This week on WWE Download, Dolph Ziggler looks at a few guys who can’t quite hit their targets, and showcases several of Zack Ryder’s “shining” moments.
– Former WWE Diva Lita was in attendance for WWE’s No Way Out pay-per-view last night. She is reportedly dating WWE champion CM Punk. Hip-hop legend DMC of Run DMC fame was also in attendance with his family.
– The first theme song for WWE’s 2012 SummerSlam pay-per-view is “Don’t Give Up (Rhythmic Remix)” by Kevin Rudolf. WWE released the following promo video for SummerSlam:
– As seen at WWE No Way Out, Abraham Washington dumped Primo, Epico and Rosa Mendes and aligned himself with new #1 contenders, the Primetime Players (Titus O’Neil and Darren Young.) AW tweeted the following about his new clients:
“AW doesn’t only stand for #AllWorld, it also stands for the #ArtofWar. The Colons were nothing but pawns and I’m the King. #CheckMate! For those of you who question my tactics, Tough S#!T, The PTP’z are the future of the #WWE. Can anybody out there say #MillionsOfDollars? I told the #Colons that I would give them the ultimate spotlight tonite and I delivered. Too bad they had to see them on their backs,lol!!!”
– Former WWE Women’s Champion Madusa was sitting ringside beside the announcers for last night’s No Way Out PPV. She had a monster truck show on Saturday night at MetLife Stadium (the site of WretleMania 29), which is across the street from the IZOD Center. Paul Heyman was backstage visiting with his kids for Madusa’s monster truck show.
– After squashing two jobbers at No Way Out, Ryback began yelling, “Feed Me Three!” – a sign that Ryback will begin wrestling three men at a time soon. It had been rumored that Ryback would be squashing four wrestlers at No Way Out – and that appears to be the direction his character is headed.
– Former WWE talent Nidia Guenard was backstage with her young daughter at TNA Wrestling’s live event at Bayou Music Center in Houston, Texas on Saturday night. She resides in the area and was a guest of Tara’s. Guenard left the professional wrestling industry entirely in 2005 and is now pursuing a culinary career.
– Writer Paul Guay is currently working on a screenplay for a movie about wrestling legend Bruno Sammartino. Guay told F4Wonline.com that the movie will be completely different from previous movies about the wrestling business. He previously wrote the Jim Carrey movie “Liar, Liar.”
– Below is the latest episode of WWE’s Are You Serious, with Josh Matthews and “Road Dogg” BG James looking back at some forgettable moments in wrestling history:
– Former WWE talent Vito LoGrasso turns 43 years old Monday, Big Vito (48) while Larry “The Axe” Hennig turns 76.
– According to court documents filed in TNA Entertainment’s lawsuit against WWE for interference with existing contracts, the organization terminated Ric Flair’s contract on May 11, 2012. Flair, however, is still listed as a member of the active roster on ImpactWrestling.com. Flair missed a live event he was scheduled to appear at the day before his contract was terminated. He has privately claimed that he quit the organization.
– TNA star Matt Morgan reportedly fulfilled his remaining obligations for the company over the weekend he weekend and has been teasing a return to WWE. Morgan is still scheduled to do a promotional tour for TNA in Australia next week, according to F4WOnline. One hurdle preventing Morgan from jumping to WWE is the ongoing lawsuit between TNA and WWE. It had been widely speculated that Ric Flair was in the process of leaving TNA for WWE, but WWE lawyer Jerry McDevitt told a court last week that currently has no interest in Flair – a sign that WWE is staying away from signing TNA talent until the lawsuit blows over.
– According to SI’s Peter King, Steelers’ RB Rashard Mendenhall (ACL surgery) is “not ready to play football,” and will likely miss “at least” the first 6 games of the season. ”I think if your fantasy draft is tomorrow, you’d be smart to pick Isaac Redman ahead of Rashard Mendenhall,” King wrote. Mendenhall himself has yet to rule out a Week 1 return, but GM Kevin Colbert’s “guess” is that he’ll begin the season on the PUP list.
– Patriots’ TE Rob Gronkowski (left ankle) told reporters Monday that his surgically repaired ankle is coming along “great.” Gronk worked on the side with trainers during OTA and minicamp practice, but should be fine for training camp.
– Comcast SportsNet New England’s Tom Curran is “told” that Patriots’ LG Logan Mankins (ACL surgery) should be ready for Week 1. Per Curran, Mankins is likely to open training camp on “active/PUP,” but should be activated from the list ahead of the opener. In addition, Mankins’ progress “was termed as ‘awesome’.” Mankins has been to three straight Pro Bowls and was a 2010 All Pro.
– Attorney Frank Perez revealed Monday that felony assault with a deadly weapon charges against Bucs’ LCB Aqib Talib have been dismissed. Talib was scheduled to stand trial on June 25 in Dallas. Per Perez, the Texas prosecutors felt their primary witness would not be credible. “The bottom line is that the complaintant is sitting in jail as a repeat child molester and has prior cases of the same nature.” Talib’s season and NFL future was previously believed to be in doubt.
– The Eagles have signed rookie DT Fletcher Cox, the No. 12 overall pick, to a 4-year contract. On draft day, Philly traded the Nos. 15, 114, and 172 overall picks in order to move up for Cox.
– The Blues have signed D Barret Jackman to a 3-year/$9.5M contract extension. Jackman would have become a UFA on July 1. Jackman, 31, dressed in 81 games for the Blues last season recording 13 points (one goal, 12 assists) and 57 penalty minutes while tying for second on the club with a +20 rating.
– Flyers’ F Jaromir Jagr plans to test free agency, according to TSN. He may eventually re-sign with Philly, but will at least field other offers. The 40-year-old had 19 goals and 54 points in 73 games last season. He made $3.3M with the Flyers last season.
– The Sharks have signed D Brad Stuart to a 3-year/$10.8M contract worth $3.6M annually. Stuart wanted to play in California to be closer to his family. The Wings will now receive a 2014 7th-round pick as part of the deal. The 32-year-old had six goals and 15 assists in 81 games last season
– The Sharks will keep Todd McLellan as head coach for the 2012-13. San Jose has advanced to the Western Conference Finals twice in four seasons with him behind the bench. They still, however, have yet to win a Stanley Cup despite having one of the deepest teams in the league year after year. GM Doug Wilson said,
“Todd is our coach, has been our coach. The process we went through there was to look through this past year. Much like players have injuries and you want them to get healthy and get their honest feedback, I’ll be honest with you, with Todd, I liked the idea of giving him a little bit of time not just for his emotions but how he’s feeling. He took a pretty good whack in the head and he took another a few weeks after that. We used this time really well to understand what we need to address, where we need to go and how we’ll get there.”
– Predators’ F Alexander Radulov’s agent, Yuri Nikolaev, told Russian newspaper Izvestiya that his client will likely return to the KHL. ”Alexander no longer has thoughts, watching the sea, whether he should go to the NHL or play in the KHL. We are negotiating with CSKA about a personal contract. However we are not in CSKA yet; there are matters we have to discuss with the club’s general managers.” Nashville has his NHL rights, but are reportedly shopping him around the league. The Rangers are believed to be interested.
– The Blackhawks have signed F Brandon Bollig and Ben Smith to 2-year contracts, G Carter Hutton to a 1-year deal and have released G Alexander Salak. Bollig, 25, made his NHL debut last season, appearing in 18 regular-season games and four playoff tilts for the Blackhawks. He tallied his first career goal in Game 2 of the Western Conference quarterfinals against Phoenix. Smith, 23, registered three goals and three assists over 19 games with Chicago over the last two seasons, adding three goals in seven playoff games. Hutton, 26, has yet to appear in an NHL game. He posted a 22-13-4 record with three shutouts, a career-best 2.35 GAA and a .917 SV% in 43 regular-season games with Rockford of the AHL last year.
– Ohio State F Jared Sullinger (back) has been “medically red flagged” by NBA doctors due to back issues, according to ESPN. Chad Ford writes, ”A number of NBA team doctors … have told their front office staff that Sullinger’s back issues could shorten his NBA career, and some have advised their teams not to draft him in the first round.” Sullinger had been a projected lottery pick, but could see a massive draft day slide.