– The Angels have acquired RHP Zack Greinke from the Brewers for SS Jean Segura and RHPs Johnny Hellweg and Ariel Pena. LA may now have the best top-four rotation in baseball. Greinke will likely make his Angels debut on Sunday against the Rays. He’s been a fan of the Halos for some time, meaning there’s a good chance he’ll consider an extension after the season. He has a 9-3 record, 3.44 ERA and 122/28 K/BB ratio through 123 innings this year.
– Bob Nightengale of USA Today reports that that the Marlins and Rangers are still “heavy in talks” regarding RHP Josh Johnson. Nightengale writes that the Fish are “leaving no doubt” that they intend to trade JJ. The 28-year-old is under contract for $13.75M next season, so the price is said to be extremely high. The Blue Jays, Angels and Orioles are also in the mix.
– The Giants have acquired INF Marco Scutaro from the Rockies for INF Charlie Culberson. The Rockies will also cover some of Scutaro’s remaining salary for 2012. The 36-year-old is batting .271/.324/.361 with four homers, 30 RBI, seven stolen bases and a .684 OPS in 95 games played this season.
– Jerry Crasnick of ESPN reports that the Cubs and Dodgers are discussing a possible swap of RHP Ryan Dempster for RHP Josh Lindblom. Lindblom is 1-3 with a 2.13 ERA, 1.04 WHIP and 54/14 K/BB ratio in 34 games for Double-A Chattanooga this season. The Dodgers remain the frontrunner to land the Canadian.
– Rangers’ RHP Colby Lewis (right elbow) had successful season-ending surgery Friday to repair a torn flexor tendon. No ligament damage was found. The 32-year-old has a 3.93 ERA over 80 starts since returning to the United States in 2010.
– The Angels have placed SS Erick Aybar (non-displaced fracture in big right toe) on the 15-day DL retroactive to July 22. Aybar hasn’t played since fouling a ball off his right foot last Saturday.
– The Jets have signed D Tobias Enstrom to a 5-year/$28.75M contract extension. The RFA posted six goals and 33 points in 62 games after scoring 50 points the season before.
– According to the Globe and Mail, UFA F Shane Doan is seeking a 4-year/$30M contract if he signs outside of Phoenix. It’s a lot of money, but the free agent pool is thinning quickly, and many teams need to add cap room. Doan provides a solid leadership role and a consistent scoring option. He’ll turn 36 in November. Doan is coming off a 5-year/$22.75M contract with an average annual value of $4.55M.
– The Flames have re-signed G Leland Irving to a 1-year/2-way contract worth $687,500 in the NHL and $207,500 in the AHL. Leland, 24, was 1-3-3 with a .912 SV% and a 3.20 GAA for the Flames in 2011-2012.
– The Kings have hired former Blues head coach Davis Payne as an assistant to coach Darryl Sutter. St. Louis fired Payne on November 6 after nearly two years behind the bench. Ken Hitchcock took over and led the Blues to the second round of the playoffs, where Los Angeles swept them. Payne, 41, will replace Jamie Kompon, who left the Kings for the same job with the Blackhawks earlier this month.
– According to Yahoo! Sports, Wolves’ G Ricky Rubio (knee surgery) has said “I hope by September I can start running again.” Rubio reportedly meets every 6 weeks with his surgeon in Colorado, and the next meeting is scheduled for next week.
– The Magic have named Jacque Vaughn as the team’s new head coach. The 37-year-old becomes the 10th coach in team history and replaces Stan Van Gundy, who was fired May 21. Vaughn played 12 seasons in the NBA, including 80 games for the Magic in 2002-03. Vaughn won a championship with the Spurs in 2007.
– The Raptors have re-signed F Aaron Gray and have signed G John Lucas III. Gray, 27, averaged 3.9 points, with 5.7 rebounds and 16.6 minutes in 49 games with the Raptors last season. Lucas, 29, has averaged five points, 1.4 assists and 11.1 minutes in 111 career regular-season games with the Rockets and Bulls.
– The Bulls have signed F Nazr Mohammed, 35. The 14-year NBA veteran played for the Thunder last season, averaging 2.7 points and 2.7 rebounds per game over 63 games.
– Texans’ WR Andre Johnson (knee) declared himself 100% recovered from his May knee scope Friday, and ready to practice in training camp. Johnson adds that he’s capable of “catching 100 passes for 1,500 yards again.” In his final four appearances, Johnson, 31, put up 319 yards and 19 receptions.
– Falcons’ coach Mike Smith reiterated at the start of training camp that RB Michael Turner’s workload will be scaled back in 2012. ”I don’t envision that Turner will have over 300 carries this season. I think it’s too much. When you multiply that, three out of four years, we need to reduce his workload.” Turner has had 300 carries in three of the past four seasons, and has shown wear-and-tear as the season has progressed, becoming less and less effective.
– The Steelers have signed WR Antonio Brown to a 5-year/$42.5M extension through 2017. Brown had $540K remaining on his rookie deal, and was scheduled to become an RFA in 2013. This extension will end any chance of WR Mike Wallace getting one, as he’ll likely play under his $2.742M tender this season.
In addition, Gerry Dulac of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette cautions “do not be surprised if Steelers trade Mike Wallace during training camp.” Dulac reports the team’s brass called Drew Rosenhaus, the agent for Brown, hours after Wallace failed to report for the start of camp. Rosenhaus and the Steelers then spent two days working out a deal for Brown. Stay tuned.
– PFT reports that Bucs’ WR Arrelious Benn (sprained right MCL) will miss 4 weeks after he was hurt in Friday’s training camp practice. Benn also tore his left ACL in December of 2010. He has just 55 receptions and five touchdowns through two seasons with the Bucs.
– Lions’ RB Jahvid Best (concussions) insisted Friday that retirement has “not crossed my mind yet.” Best recently failed to receive medical clearance for camp. ”If this was four or five years ago. I probably would have played last season. Now that everything’s under a microscope, it takes a lot longer.”
– CBS Sports’ Jason La Canfora reports that Ravens’ LT Bryant McKinnie’s “days appear quite numbered” with the team. McKinnie was a no-show when camp kicked began, and early reorts suggest that it could involve him not making weight. McKinnie got a $500K roster bonus in March, but the Ravens could get off the hook for his $3.2M salary by cutting him.
– The Redskins have claimed WR Dezmon Briscoe off waivers from the Buccaneers. The 22-year-old led the Buccaneers in touchdowns (6) in 2011. He skipped offseason workouts and failed his conditioning test to open training camp with the Bucs.
– According to the Wrestling Observer, though Chris Jericho will never say anything publicly about his future with WWE, and with him not advertised for televised events following SummerSlam on August 19, many employees believe he’ll be leaving the company shortly, at least temporarily.
– Insane Clown Posse has released a music video for their “Chris Benoit” single for their upcoming “Mighty Death Pop” album.
– Updating a previous item, The Great Khali (aka Dalip Singh) underwent surgery Thursday in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania to remove a pituitary gland tumor that’s caused his enormous size, which is the same condition that Andre the Giant had. The story was featured on the front page of Yahoo.com Friday morning, which also notes that he is recovering well and expected to be released over the weekend.
– According to the Wrestling Observer, WWE brass had planned for developmental wrestler Dean Ambrose to be a member of the main roster by now as he is listed as a Superstar in the newly released WWE Souvenir Program sold exclusively at live events. He is pictured appearing menacingly in traditional wrestling trunks and billed at 6’4?, 250 pounds and hailing from Cincinnati, Ohio. He has competed in numerous non-televised matches for WWE since late last year, but not since June 16.
– According to the Wrestling Observer, with the ratings success of the weekly “Legends” segments on Raw, WWE’s booking committee are considering making the feature a regularity by having one former Superstar brought back on every show.
– According to the Wrestling Observer, a third segment involving WWE Divas was scripted for Raw 1,000 but nixed due to many of the show’s early segments running long. The Wrestling Observer believes Kelly Kelly, who has been absent since May, was slated to appear.
– Both Triple H and Dolph Ziggler celebrate birthdays Friday. WWE’s Executive Vice President of Talent and Live Events and part-time wrestler turns 43-years-old while “The Showoff” turns 32.
– Shannon Moore turns 33-years old Friday while Matt Borne, the original Doink the Clown, turns 55.
– Velvet Sky’s departure from TNA Impact Wrestling this week has sparked rumours and speculation that the colorful grappler could eventually wind up in WWE as a ‘Diva’. Though it is publicly unknown how WWE brass perceive the ten-year veteran wrestler, Sky has at least one backer in the sports entertainment organization in “Hardcore Legend” Mick Foley, who feels she would fit in nicely with their array of female talent. When asked via Twitter whether the former TNA Women’s Knockout Champion would make for a great addition to WWE’s Divas division, he responded,
“I think @VelVelHoller would be a valuable addition to the @WWE Divas roster. Hope it happens.”
Sky acknowledged Foley’s remarks, writing, “Thank you Mick!” While working her way up the wrestling ranks, Sky, who was then known as Talia, appeared for WWE as an extra and enhancement wrestler in 2005 and 2006. She also auditioned for the 2007 Diva Search, but did not make the final cut. She opened up on the setback earlier this month during an interview with The Post and Courier.
“The only thing I’m going to say about that is the only reason I did that is because there were powers at be within that organization that told me they wanted to see me do it. Some higher-up people in the organization came to me and told me that they would like to see me do it”
“It’s not a way that I wanted to break into wrestling. But if someone is basically telling you that they want to see you do this, then you do it. You bite the bullet and you do it.
“Everything happens for a reason, and it just wasn’t my time then. I’m glad I didn’t get through.”
– Impact Wrestling senior official Earl Hebner posted an inappropriate message on his Twitter account Thursday night—likely meant as a private message to a user he is following. The message stated,
“I Will take ur blow j when u are ready 2 give it 2 me.”
Though the post was hastily deleted.
– Chavo Guerrero, Jr. made his TNA Impact Wrestling debut on Thursday. After lauding the Guerrero family legacy and proclaiming that it was his time to shine in TNA, he was attacked by Gunner and Kid Kash, who took exception to his remarks. Guerrero’s aunt Vickie, who appears for WWE as the mouthpiece of Dolph Ziggler, congratulated her nephew’s debut for the Nashville-based wrestling promotion.
“I am proud of @mexwarrior with his debut on TNA!! A true professional Miss him and his family xxoo”
Don’t expect Vickie to ever join Chavo in TNA. She stated last year in a Twitter message that she would never turn her back on her WWE family:
“I would never go to TNA…no disrespect to anybody…WWE is my family…period.”