– According to the Wrestling Observer, Randy Orton’s future with WWE is uncertain following their announcement Wednesday that he was being suspended for 60 days for his second violation of the Talent Wellness Program. SuperLuchas.net reports the SmackDown wrestler met with Chairman Vince McMahon, Executive Vice President of Talent and Live Events Paul Levesque (Triple H) and Executive Vice President of Television Production Kevin Dunn at the organization’s headquarters in Stamford, Connecticut on Friday to discuss his future with the organization.
A WWE source described the meeting’s atmosphere as “hostile;” it was determined that a further decision concerning Orton awaits. The report adds there are “several” officials lobbying for his termination as a cost-cutting measure. They feel his lucrative 10-year contract, signed in January 2010, can no longer be justified if he is brought back in a mid-level role. His second suspension hinders WWE from continuing to feature Orton in headline role since a third drug-testing policy infraction would result in automatic termination.
McMahon is especially infuriated with Orton, who felt he had matured in recent years. The nine-time world champion’s suspension reportedly stems from a positive drug test for the anabolic steroid Dianabol, which is banned by the United States Congress under its Controlled Substances Act. He also reportedly tested positive for marijuana, which is subject to a $2,500 fine.
– According to WrestleZone, the creative team is currently discussing different on-air roles for Ric Flair. The most popular option has been using Flair as a manager for Dolph Ziggler. Mason Ryan has been acting as Ziggler’s body guard at recent live events and will begin accompanying Ziggler to the ring on television soon in the event that Flair’s negotiations fall through. WWE plans to negotiate a legends contract and possibly a talent contract for the 16-time World champion. It’s worth noting that people in WWE are concerned with Flair’s advanced age as well as his tendency to break from the script and go into business for himself. While it appears likely that Flair will be back in WWE in the coming months, nothing has been signed yet and TNA’s recent lawsuit against WWE could pose issues for Flair jumping ship.
– According to the PWInsider, WWE has big plans in store for Ryback, who has continuously steamrolled enhancement talent since debuting on SmackDown in April. SuperLuchas.net reports Vince McMahon has notified creative to script Ryback as dominant as possible in future outings. The WWE Chairman is very high on the SmackDown Superstar as he feels he can be his company’s version of Bill Goldberg.
– George “The Animal” Steele threw out the opening pitch at a recent minor league baseball game and ate the cover off a ball. The 75-year-old still has it! Check it out:
– Jim Ross tweeted the following about the conclusion of Monday’s RAW, where John Cena terrorized Michael Cole, stripped him down to his underwear and covered him in JR’s BBQ sauce:
“@michaelcole was a trooper last night wearing JR’S BBQ sauces & taking @JohnCena AA. apology accepted. Let’s move on.”
– Tyler Reks and Curt Hawkins tweeted the following on Monday night after their match against Kofi Kingston and R-Truth on RAW:
Reks: “Hey, #Change takes time people. Non-title match tonight so we didn’t want to pull out all our tricks. More Reks & @TheCurtHawkins to come.”
Hawkins: “Well… I had a match on Raw. That’s a start. Not satisfied though.”
– The Canadiens have named Michel Therrien as their next coach. Therrien replaces interim head coach Randy Cunneyworth, who was removed from the position by general manager Marc Bergevin on May 2. The 48-year-old returns to the Canadiens’ bench for the first time since he replaced Alain Vigneault as head coach during the 2000-01 season. He worked two-and-a-half seasons at the helm before being replaced by Claude Julien in 2002-03. Therrien then worked in the AHL where he coached the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins before being named the Pittsburgh Penguins’ head coach midway through the 2005-06 season. He worked four seasons in Pittsburgh, leading the team to the Stanley Cup Final in 2007-08. Montreal is coming off a disastrous year as it finished with 78 points, the third-fewest in the league.
– The Penguins expect any F Sidney Crosby extension to begin with a minimum of seven years, according to the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. Sid the Kid has 1-year/$8.7M remaining on his current contract, but it is widely expected that the Pens will look to lock him up long-term this offseason. The Pittsburgh Tribune-Review’s Josh Yohe said that Pittsburgh anticipates that seven years is the minimum and that any deal could be “possibly 10 or more.” Yohe also notes that GM Ray Shero’s longest deal has been with G Marc-Andre Fluery at seven years. With the CBA expiring in September, look for a deal to get done beforehand.
– According to the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, Penguins’ G Marc-Andre Fleury is still Pittsburgh’s starting goatender despite the recent acquisition and signing of veteran G Tomas Vokoun. The move was made because the Pens don’t want to be forced to overwork Fleury again in 2012-13 following an especially sub-par performance in the postseason. GM Ray Shero said, “He never admitted to being tired last season, and he likes to play a lot. But this will make him a better goalie. This isn’t a knock on Marc-Andre Fleury. This is to make Marc-Andre Fleury better.”
– The Avalanche have signed F Cody McLeod to a 3-year/$3.5M contract through 2014-15. The 27-year-old had 11 points in 75 games for the Avalanche last season, when he compiled a team-high 164 penalty minutes.
– Details of a tentative $170M deal to sell the Coyotes to prospective owner Greg Jamison include a 20-year lease that will pay Jamison’s group an average of $15M a season to manage Jobing.com arena. The draft agreement, posted online by the City of Glendale on its municipal website Monday, states the former San Jose Sharks executive will be paid the fee as arena manager for keeping “an anchor tenant at the arena.” The team will pay the city approximately $13M in rent over the duration of the agreement. The city also expects to make $60M in ticket surcharges and between $4-10M in fees from naming rights. The deal also includes a non-relocation agreement, stating the team will be liable for $250-350M in damages if it tries to move over the course of the lease. The agreement also includes a provision to change the team name to the Arizona Coyotes “as soon as is commercially feasible.” The agreement will be presented to Glendale city council on Thursday.
– Cubs’ manager Dale Sveum said Monday that he’s considering benching SS Starlin Castro if he can’t improve his focus. Castro forgot how many outs there were in Monday’s game on a potential double-play ball, letting the Giants score the tying run at the time. He likely wouldn’t have been able to make the out at first, but that’s besides the point–Castro has a history of mental mistakes, and it’s just his second year in the league. “It’s not acceptable. These things got to stop happening or we’re just going to stop playing.” We can’t imagine that a potential benching would last more than a couple days, but Castro probably needs a wake-up call at this point. To his credit, he was apologetic to teammates after the game and called the situation “embarrassing.”
– With the first overall pick in the 2012 MLB First-Year Player Draft, the Astros selected high-school SS Carlos Correa. After being connected to Stanford RHP Mark Appel for months, rookie GM Jeff Lunhow opted for the 6’4″, 190-pound shortstop. Correa is still a month shy of his 18th birthday, but is arguably the best under-19 prospect in the draft. He’s got a great bat with excellent baserunning ability and even better defensive ability.
– Former Reds’ P Pedro Borbon, who pitched 10 years for Cincy and helped the Big Red Machine win back-to-back World Series titles, died of cancer on Monday. He was 65. Borbon had been in hospice care at his home in Pharr, Texas, his son, Pedro, told The Associated Press in a phone interview. Borbon requested to be cremated without a memorial service, his son said. Borbon was a key member of the bullpen on Cincinnati’s 1975-76 championship teams, winning 13 games during those two seasons. He also pitched for the Angels, Giants and Cardinals. In 2010, he became the third reliever to be inducted into the Reds Hall of Fame.
– The Twins have placed RHP Carl Pavano (right anterior capsular strain) on the 15-day DL retroactive to June 2. Pavano’s shoulder has been an issue throughout the season, as he’s posted a 6.00 ERA through 11 starts. The timetable for his return isn’t yet known.
– The Reds have released LHP Jeff Francis. The 31-year-old reportedly exercised an opt-out clause that he was eligible to use beginning June 1. Francis threw a complete-game shutout for the Redbirds on Sunday, and in 12 starts for Louisville this season, Francis was 3-6 with a 3.72 ERA. He had 65 strikeouts and 18 walks.
– D’Backs’ LHP Francisco Guzman has been suspended 25 games for his violation of the minor league drug program. Guzman is on the roster of the Diamondbacks rookie level Arizona League team. His suspension, announced Monday, will begin immediately. There have been 46 suspensions this year under the minor league drug program.
– Saints’ unsigned franchise QB Drew Brees will not participate in this week’s mandatory minicamp. GM Mickey Loomis is reportedly spending the week evaluating basketball prospects as part of his new role as an adviser for the NBA’s Hornets, so a deal doesn’t appear to be near. The sides have until July 16 to reach a long-term agreement in their never-ending talks.
– Redskins’ WR Leonard Hankerson (hip surgery) confirmed that he’s fully healthy and cleared to participate in all offseason activities. Hankerson appeared in just four games as a rookie. ESPN’s Dan Graziano projects the 2011 3rd-round pick as a starter opposite Pierre Garcon.
– Appearing on the Michael Kay Radio Show, Knicks’ head coach Mike Woodson called RFA G Jeremy Lin his “starting point guard.” ”Right now, he is our starting point guard, without a doubt.” GM Glen Grunwald previously said that essentially every scenario that can play out has Lin staying with the Knicks.
– The Lakers have exercised their $16.1M option on F Andrew Bynum, but the two sides have “not yet engaged” in discussions about a long-term contract extension, a source tells ESPN LA. Bynum officially had his $16.1M contract option picked up by the team on Monday. Bynum’s camp “anticipated” that talks on a long-term deal would ensue at some point in the offseason. He posted career-highs with 18.7 points, 11.8 rebounds and 1.9 blocks.
– Clippers’ GM Neil Olshey will no longer be the GM of the Clippers, and will be taking a deal to be the GM of the Blazers. Rumours suggest that Donald Sterling didn’t want to pay Olshey, who was among the league’s lowest paid executives and was starting to gain accolade for his work with the Clips.
– The pitiful Bobcats most recent ticket promotion offers prospective fans the opportunity to buy season tickets for 2012-2013 season for as low as $537.50, and if they do, they get tickets to the 2013-2014 season for free. With 41 home games in an NBA season, fans could watch 82 games for an average ticket price of $6.55. This comes on the heels of Charlotte posting the worst winning percentage in NBA history with a 7-59 record.
– For those that missed Tiger Woods’ ridiculous chip on 16 at the Memorial, here it is:
– Floyd Mayweather Jr is currently serving a 90 -day prison sentence for battery on his ex-girlfriend. His current girlfriend, Shantel Jackson, tweeted Floyd’s prison details:
“Floyd wants to share his ID info: ID# 01363917, Clark County Detention Ctr, 330 S Casino Center Blvd, Las Vegas NV 89101 Thanks, @MsJackson”
That address is for anyone who wants to send fan mail to Floyd. Send it to what we just tweeted and it will get to him. Thank you.
– The TNA website has a new article up hyping the company’s Hall of Fame, including the Hall’s official logo: