– Bob Nightengale of USA Today reports that the Dodgers have signed OF Andre Ethier to a 5-year/$85M contract extension with a $17.5M vesting option for a sixth year or a $2.5M buyout. If the option is picked up or vests (based on plate appearances from 2016-17), it becomes a 6-year/$100M deal. Ethier got hot at the start of the season, just as ownership changed hands. He was going to become a free agent this winter, but he’s now locked in through his age-35 season.
– Dodgers’ manager Don Mattingly said Monday that there’s no timetable for OF Matt Kemp’s (left hamstring strain) return. ”We don’t really want to set (a time frame) for Matt. We tried last time to be the same way. We want to make sure he’s healthy, and not put him on an official deadline.” Kemp did stretching and running drills in the outfield with trainer Sue Falsone on Monday, and has been hitting over the past few days. He was originally expected to miss at least four weeks.
– Danny Knobler of CBSSports.com reports that the Dodgers are “definitely interested” in a trade for Cubs’ RHP Ryan Dempster. Knobler notes that the Dodgers were interested in Dempster two years ago, but that he didn’t want to leave the Cubs. Dempster is due to hit free agency following the season, but has full no-trade rights as a 10-and-5 player.
– Blue Jays’ manager John Farrell said RHP Brandon Morrow’s (strained left oblique) injury is “probably substantial.” Morrow left Monday’s start against the Nationals in the first inning with the injury. Farrell added that Morrow was in “considerable pain.” He’ll likely require a DL stint.
– According to Enrique Rojas of ESPN Deportes, Blue Jays’ DH Vladimir Guerrero has left the Blue Jays’ Triple-A affiliate and returned to his home in Anaheim, California. Vlad hasn’t officially opted out of his minor league deal, but that could change very quickly. Rojas was told by a source that the two sides had a soft deadline for the 37-year-old to be called up to the majors. Now that it has passed, Vlad wants the Blue Jays to decide Tuesday whether he will be called up to the majors. He has no plans to return to the minor leagues. Vladdy went 4-for-5 on Monday night and is hitting .303 (10-for-33) with two doubles and a triple in eight games with Triple-A Las Vegas. His agent, Bean Stringfellow, told Ken Rosenthal of FOXSports.com that his client has no intention of retiring. ”Nothing could be further from the truth. He is in great shape. He is hitting very well and running very well.”
– The Rangers have placed RHP Alexi Ogando (right groin strain) on the 15-day DL retroactive to June 11. Ogando suffered the injury while making a spot start Sunday against the Giants. He underwent an MRI on Monday, but the severity of the injury isn’t yet known.
– La Velle E. Neal III of the Minneapolis Star-Tribune reports that the Twins have reached an agreement with 2012 No. 2 overall pick OF Byron Buxton, pending a physical. Buxton arrived in Minneapolis on Monday and met with the Twins at Target Field.
– Heat’ F Mike Miller denied an ESPN report that he plans to retire after the Finals. ”I’ll re-evaluate my health after the season. I don’t know what’s going to happen.” According to the Palm Beach Post, Miller’s chronically sore back contributed to the hernia surgery which caused him to miss the first 12 games of the season. He also had wrist and shoulder surgeries last summer, and has been in pain throughout the playoffs. He’s owed $18.6M over the next three seasons.
– Celtics’ G Ray Allen (right ankle) will undergo surgery to remove bone spurs on Wednesday. Allen will be a free agent this summer and will draw plenty of interest on the market. It’s very possible that the ‘core four’ in Boston is finished.
– The Florida Times-Union reports that Jaguars’ RB Maurice Jones-Drew will not attend this week’s mandatory minicamp, and may hold out into the regular season. MJD can be fined up to $60,000 for skipping minicamp, but he’s serious about getting his contract extension. He signed a 5-year/$30.95M contract back in 2009, but GM Gene Smith said Monday that the team has no intention of renegotiating. Stay tuned.
– The Titans have released TE Daniel Graham. Graham appeared in all 16 games last season, but was used almost exclusively as a blocker, recording just two catches. The 34-year-old was set to make $2M this season.
– Vince McMahon will be ringside this Sunday night at WWE No Way Out when Big Show wrestles John Cena in a steel cage match. If Big Show does not win – John Laurinaitis will be fired. Dolph Ziggler also won a #1 contenders match on RAW to replace the injured Alberto Del Rio and face Sheamus for the World Heavyweight championship. It was also announced on RAW that Layla will defend the Divas title against Beth Phoenix and Brodus Clay vs. David Otunga will be the pre-show match on Youtube.com, starting 30 minutes prior to the PPV. With those matches set, here’s the updated card for WWE No Way Out:
Steel Cage Match (Vince McMahon at Ringside): Big Show vs. John Cena: If Cena wins, Laurinaitis is fired
WWE Title Match: CM Punk (c) vs. Daniel Bryan vs. Kane
World Heavyweight Title Match: Sheamus (c) vs. Dolph Ziggler
WWE Intercontinental Title Match: Christian (c) vs. Cody Rhodes
Divas Title Match: Layla (c) vs. Beth Phoenix
Pre-Show Match: Brodus Clay vs. David Otunga
– Paul Heyman tweeted the following cryptic message on Monday night:
“@WWE #TheBossIsBack Yes, Brock Lesnar and I are indeed back. WHERE? Remains to be seen! Ahem …”
Triple H will be at Sunday’s No Way Out pay-per-view to address “his future, pending lawsuits against WWE and Brock Lesnar.” According to the Wrestling Observer, Brock Lesnar will not return at No Way Out, however, that could change by Sunday, and it’s possible Lesnar’s appearance could be kept a secret until then. Despite Lesnar’s ongoing issues with WWE, there are still plans for him to wrestle Triple H at SummerSlam on August 19.
– Florida divorce attorney Raymond Rafool recently spoke to Lawyers.com about his client Liz Huberdeau’s divorce from WWE superstar John Cena. Rafool says the main issue that will determine what Liz receives in a divorce ruling be the judge’s interpretation of their prenuptial agreement, which was signed just 16 days before they married:
“In this case, it appears the preliminary issues will be the interpretation of the prenuptial agreement, the application to the parties’s property, assets and income, whether the agreement itself is enforceable or not, which we always consider, and in the mean time addressing the temporary needs of our client in conjunction with and in spite of certain terms of the premarital agreement.”
When asked what he’s sensing from John Cena, Rafool said:
“What John has on his mind only John knows, so I can’t give you any other reasons. At this time my client is going to maintain everybody’s privacy.”
– Following the Big Show’s knockout punch on Vince McMahon at the end of RAW, the WWE website has an “injury update” on the WWE chairman – and his status for Sunday’s pay-per-view is now up in the air. The latest storyline development is that McMahon is experiencing “concussion-like symptoms” and might not be able to sit ringside for the John Cena vs. Big Show match at No Way Out. McMahon promised on RAW to fire John Laurinaitis if Big Show can’t defeat John Cena at the event. After RAW went off the air, McMahon “regained consciousness” and was helped to the back by trainers.
– Arda Ocal (@arda_ocal) of The Score Television Network once again sat down with WWE Hall of Famer Bret ‘The Hitman’ Hart. Highlights are as follows:
Wrestlemania VIII with “Rowdy” Roddy Piper and winning the Intercontinental Championship: “When I realized I was going to wrestle Roddy Piper, my gut instinct told me that Piper was going to keep the title for a while, and I would sort of be back up to him. It didnt work out like that, and I’m glad it didn’t because I kind of had my heart set on a good healthy long run as the Intercontinental champion. I thought at the time I got the title that I earned it and I wanted to have my chance. When i lost it to “The Mountie” I thought ‘They never gave me my chance.’”
On Piper ‘passing the torch’ to him and other wrestlers not doing the same: “For him to pass the torch down to me, kind of thing, was a pretty big step for me. At that time a lot of wrestlers didn’t want to make that kind of effort for me, and I’m not sure why or what their arguments might have been. So many guys when I look back on my career, like even when I won the World Title I was supposed to go over on ‘Warrior’, i would have gone over on ‘Warrior’ at the ‘Rumble’, never happened. I was supposed to wrestle Jake Roberts first at ‘Survivor Series’, never happened,” … “its too bad in the case of Jake Roberts, he’s a guy that, I had this great career and never wrestled Jake Roberts one time.”
On creating the ladder match and Shawn Michaels stealing the idea: “[Vince] told me to pick anybody I wanted, I said ‘I’ll pick Shawn’ because I was good friends with Shawn back then. I went to Shawn and said ‘We’re going to do a ladder match’ and he didn’t know what it was either. I tried to explain it to him. I knew it was a million dollar idea. Once I showed him how to do it I knew it would be a great idea” … “And then Shawn stole then idea from me. It was the idea that was the the million dollar idea. A lot of guys could have had a great ladder match, a lot of guys have. But it was the idea that I brought forth that they stole from me.”
– Vader, a two-time WCW World Heavyweight Champion, made his first WWE appearance in over six years on Raw SuperShow. He hit Heath Slater with a Vader Bomb. The 58-year-old tweeted after RAW:
“Wow what a fantastic night. I want to thank the @WWE from the bottom of my heart. I also want to thank all the fans for the love & Support.”
“#stillgotit??? It’s time it’s time #itsvadertime”
Vader recently lost approximately 60 pounds and is looking to make a comeback.
– On Monday’s RAW, Dolph Ziggler won a #1 contenders match and will now face Sheamus for the World Heavyweight title at No Way Out. Following Ziggler’s match, Mick Foley tweeted the following endorsement:
“Another excellent match involving @HeelZiggler . I think I detect some type of trend here”
Paul Heyman re-tweeted Foley’s comment and said that he agrees.
– Former WWE superstar John Bradshaw Layfield was at WWE headquarters in Stamford, Connecticut on Monday. Bradshaw wrote the following message on Facebook about his visit, WWE sponsoring his upcoming “Seven Summits” mountain climbing adventure (and the danger involved), a possible return to WWE television and more:
“Did hours of TV today for future shows, mainly stuff for Seven Sumits but also some specials/DVD type stuff. For those asking, if I am alive and make this mountain-yes, I would expect to be on WWE TV, but there are NO plans by me or them. It was all focused on this mountain and the tech I need to transmit pics and videos back for the social pages. I do expect to be on WWE TV in the future but no idea the role and they don’t know either. Maybe it is just a cameo or a spot to promote the Seven Summits for Kids-who knows? I know I have a huge mountain waiting on me in Russia that 15-30 people a year die on according to Wikipedia, so my focus is on me getting my old self up and down this mountain and raising money for the kids I work with. Then we will see about WWE and they will have a chance to see what they want me to do.”
JBL recently told Bermuda’s Royal Gazette newspaper that he’s already lost 35 pounds while preparing for the adventure.
– John Laurinaitis’ executive assistant Eve Torres addressed her absence from WWE television on Twitter on Monday night:
“I know you all have missed me on Raw, but rest assured I’m handling some very important business. That’s what business women do.”
– Chris Jericho’s suspension countdown continues, with 11 days to go until he’s cleared to return to action. Jericho tweeted the following lyrics from the movie Spinal Tap:
“”These go to 11? “Why don’t you just make ten louder and call ten the loudest” “these go to 11?”
– The Miz is currently filming the WWE Studios movie The Marine: Homefront: and is not expected to be back on RAW for the next few weeks. Miz noted on Twitter that he has to wake up at 4AM each day for filming.
– Lance Storm, who recently injured his elbow, tweeted the following Monday night: “Got my elbow X ray results back, fractured bone spur. Will not keep me out, just causes pain. Now the long wait for the ortho appointment.”
– Today’s wrestling birthdays include WWE referee Jack Doan (40) and ECW original Jerry Lynn (49).
– TNA President Dixie Carter released a statement in regard to the recent TRO (Temporary Restraining Order) the company filed against WWE in the Davidson County Circuit Court in Nashville, Tennessee. TNA President Dixie Carter states,
“We were not surprised that the Court originally granted a swift temporary restraining order against WWE to prohibit interference with TNA’s contracts and business relationships. I’m pleased that the Court has now replaced that temporary measure with the most recent judicial Order. The Judge’s current Order sends a strong message about the importance of TNA protecting its trade secrets. Obviously, the accuracy of what WWE has represented remains important, so I look forward to the discovery process and what is revealed during litigation. As always, we will vigorously protect TNA and its brand from damage at the hands of any and all sources, no matter who is involved.”