– The Pirates have acquired LHP Wandy Rodriguez and cash from the Astros for OF Robbie Grossman and LHPs Rudy Owens and Colton Cain. Rodriguez has struggled over the past while, but has a 3.79 ERA and 1.27 WHIP this season and remains an asset in the rotation. Grossman is the most highly-regarded prospect going the other way. The Pirates will have Wandy under contract through 2014.
– The Rays have acquired 3B Ryan Roberts from the D’Backs for INF Tyler Bortnick. Roberts was designated for assignment by Arizona on Tuesday after beginning the season with a .250/.306/.357 batting line over his first 83 games. The 31-year-old finished with 19 home runs in 2011.
– Cubs’ RHP Ryan Dempster told reporters Tuesday that he will take “much of the next week” to decide on a potential trade. The Cubs nearly finalized a deal on Monday that would have sent Dempster to the Braves for 22-year-old RHP Randall Delgado. Dempster, however, has 10-and-5 rights, and can veto any trade. The Cubs are also said to be engaged in negotiations with the Dodgers, but Dempster is also believed to be wanting to go to a championship contender. Dempster expects to make his scheduled start for Chicago on Wednesday afternoon.
– Jon Paul Morosi of FOXSports.com reports that the Blue Jays are interested in Marlins’ RHP Josh Johnson and 3B Hanley Ramirez. Johnson, 28, fills a bigger need given the team’s rotation injury woes. Scott Miller of CBSSports.com reported on Monday night, however, that the Marlins would prefer to keep him. JJ has a 4.14 ERA and a 105/35 K/BB ratio in 119 2/3 innings this season and is under contract for $13.75M in 2013.
– Tim Kurkjian of ESPN.com reports that the Rays and Angels are discussing a deal that would send RHP James Shields to Anaheim for OF Peter Bourjos and C Hank Conger. Kurkjian calls the deal “complicated because money is involved,” and it’s possible that RHP Ervin Santana could be included in it, as well. Shields has a disappointing 4.39 ERA and 1.44 WHIP this season. He would replace Santana in the rotation; Bourjos takes over for OF B.J. Upton who could walk via free agency; and Conger becomes the young catcher that Tampa is shopping for.
– Yankees’ OF Brett Gardner (right elbow) underwent arthroscopic surgery on Tuesday afternoon and is expected to miss the remainder of the season.
– Blue Jays’ RHP Brandon Morrow (oblique) is scheduled to begin a minor league rehab assignment Sunday. Morrow, who’s been sidelined since June 12 with a severe oblique injury, will first need to throw live batting practice without incident on Wednesday. He could be back in the Blue Jays’ starting rotation by the mid-August, barring setbacks.
– Cubs’ RHP Matt Garza has been excused from the Cubs for the birth of his child and won’t pitch before Monday. The trade deadline is on Tuesday evening–July 31–so he may have thrown his last pitch with the Northsiders. Garza, 28, has a 3.91 ERA, 1.18 WHIP and 96/32 K/BB ratio through 103 2/3 innings this season. He’s drawn heavy trade interest from the Dodgers, Royals, Red Sox and many others.
– Royals’ C Jason Kendall announced his retirement from baseball Tuesday. Kendall, 38, signed a minor league deal with the Royals last week and appeared in two games with Double-A Northwest Arkansas. The three-time All-Star finishes with a .288 lifetime batting average with 2,195 career hits over 15 seasons between the Pirates, Athletics, Brewers, Royals and Cubs.
– The Patriots have signed TE Visanthe Shiancoe to a 1-year/$1.2M contract. Shiancoe will receive $400K guaranteed and $800K in incentives.
– Cardinals’ RB Beanie Wells (knee surgery) and TE Jeff King (quadriceps) will start camp on the active/PUP list. This is the third major red flag for Wells, since his January surgery was initially described as “just a scope.” Beanie eventually admitted the procedure was “a little more complicated” than simply repairing his damaged meniscus, as he sat out all offseason practices.
– The Rams have agreed to terms with No. 39 overall pick CB Janoris Jenkins on a 4-year/$5M contract with $3.1M guaranteed. Jenkins could become a starter if he puts his off-field issues behind him.
– Saints’ interim coach Joe Vitt isn’t sure whether RB Mark Ingram (knee surgery) will be ready for the start of training camp on Thursday. Vitt said the training staff will continue to “monitor” the him, but it’s possible that he’ll be limited for the beginning of camp. Ingram had said his early-May knee scope was “as minor as it gets,” and guaranteed he’d be ready for the start of practices.
– Falcons’ coach Mike Smith confirmed that MLB Lofa Tatupu (torn pectoral) will undergo surgery and miss the entire 2012 season. Tatupu, 29, will make $600K guaranteed from a 2-year/$5.75M contract signed back in March.
– The Wolves are reportedly trying to sign F Andrei Kirilenko, who is no longer said to be interested in joining the Nets, according to Yahoo! Sports. Jerry Zgoda said on Twitter that AK-47 could be getting 2-years/$18M. Minnesota’s starting five could be Ricky Rubio, Brandon Roy, Kirilenko, Kevin Love and Nikola Pekovic.
– According to Adrian Wojnarowski, the Hornets, Suns and Wolves are “nearing agreement” on a three-team trade that would send F Robin Lopez and F Hakim Warrick to the Hornets, with F Wes Johnson and a 1st-round pick going to the Suns. It’s unclear what the Wolves would receive. If true, it looks like a win for New Orleans, as they acquire a true center to pair with Anthony Davis and Ryan Anderson. Phoenix, meanwhile will lose their only true backup centre behind F Marcin Gortat. Hornets’ G Eric Gordon recently complained of the team’s lack of “another big guy to guard the lane a little better.”
– The Bulls have signed G Marco Bellineli to a 1-year contract. The 26-year-old started 55 games for the Hornets last season, averaging 11.8 points.
– The Wolves have acquired F Dante Cunningham from the Grizzlies in exchange for G Wayne Ellington. Cunningham started the 2010-11 season with the Trail Blazers before being traded to the Bobcats. He signed with Memphis on Dec. 20, 2011, and averaged 5.2 points, shooting a career-best 51.6% from the field last season. The 25-year-old grabbed a career-high 3.8 rebounds per game, Ellington averaged 6.5 points and 1.9 rebounds in 189 games over three seasons with the Wolves.
– The Wizards have signed free agent G A.J. Price. He has averaged 6 points, 2 assists and 1.5 rebounds in 150 games in the last three seasons with the Pacers.
– The Knicks have signed G Pablo Prigioni, the point guard for Argentina’s national team. The 35-year-old has played professionally since 1995, most recently in the Spanish leagues. He was twice selected to the All-Euroleague second team.
– TVA Sports in Quebec reports that UFA F Shane Doan will visit the Canadiens next week. ”Doan has been in discussions with Canadiens this week and he has told his agent that he wanted to make a visit,” a source close to the situation told TVA Sports on Tuesday. Doan has already visited with the Rangers and Flyers over the last week. The 35-year-old remains likely to re-sign with the Coyotes, but only once their ownership situation is handled. Of note, Doan is cousins with Canadiens’ G Carey Price.
– The NHLPA could present its counterproposal to the NHL owners relatively soon, according to the Montreal Gazette. NHLPA executive Donald Fehr said, ”I doubt that it will be weeks plural. But could it be two? Yeah. It could be two, it could be less. In addition to looking hard at what they’ve given us and doing our own work, we’re going to have to look at that additional information before we get to the stage of making a proposal of our own, making a counter-proposal or doing something else…They’ve indicated that they’re in the process of compiling it and will get it to us,” he said. “In addition to looking hard at what they’ve given us and doing our own work, we’re going to have to look at that additional information before we get to the stage of making a proposal of our own, making a counter-proposal or doing something else.” Commissioner Gary Bettman remains optimistic that an agreement will get done without having a lockout.
– Bruins’ F Nathan Horton (concussion) and D Adam McQuaid (concussion) have been cleared for contact by the team’s medical staff, and will be ready for the start of training camp. Horton had 32 points in 46 games last season, but didn’t play after suffering a concussion from a hit by Flyers’ F Tom Sestito on January 22. It was his second concussion in six months. Horton was also hit by Canucks’ D Aaron Rome in Game 3 of the Stanley Cup Final in June of 2011 and didn’t return until the start of the following season. McQuaid was injured on March 29 after a hit by Capitals forward Jason Chimera. It was later reported after the Bruins were eliminated by the Capitals in the first round playoffs that McQuaid had a concussion.
– The Blue Jackets have signed No. 2 overall pick D Ryan Murray to a 3-year entry level contract. Murray, 18, scored nine goals and 22 assists for 31 points and had 31 penalty minutes in 46 games with the Everett Silvertips of the Western Hockey League during the 2011-12 season.
– According to the Winnipeg Free Press, Jets’ RFA F Evander Kane is mulling over a 6-year/$29M contract extension. The 20-year-old had 30 goals and 27 assists last season.
– The Hurricanes have signed D Jay Harrison to a 3-year/$4.5M contract extension and signed former 1st-round draft pick F Zach Boychuk to a 1-year deal. Harrison will make $1.5M per season beginning in 2013-14. He is scheduled to make $750K this season. The 29-year-old Harrison led Carolina’s defencemen with nine goals and blocked 132 shots. The 22-year-old Boychuk will make $625K at the NHL level or $105K if he is sent to the minor leagues. Carolina’s No. 1 pick in 2008 split last season between the Hurricanes and their AHL affiliate in Charlotte and had two assists in 16 games with the NHL club last season.
– The Maple Leafs have signed F Keith Aucoin and D Simon Gysbers to 1-year contracts. Aucoin, 33, spilt last 12 season between the Capitals and the AHL’s Hershey Bears, posting 11 points (three goals, eight assists) and a plus-four rating (+4) in 27 games with the Caps. He appeared in 14 playoff games for Washington, collecting two assists and two penalty minutes. Gysbers, 25, played 68 games for the AHL’s Toronto Marlies last season, posting 29 points with 20 penalty minutes and a plus-13 rating (+13). He ranked first among Marlies’ defencemen in goals, assists and points in the regular season. He also appeared in 17 playoff games for the Marlies, registering a goal, an assist and eight penalty minutes.
– The Predators have signed F Colin Wilson to a 3-year/$6M contract. Wilson will make $1.5M in 2012-13, $2M in 2013-14 and $2.5M in 2014-15. The 22-year-old set career highs in assists (20) and points (35) while scoring 16 goals in 2011-12. He also tied for second on the Predators in game-winning goals (5), and fourth on the club in power-play goals (5) this past season.
– According to the PWTorch, WWE Raw on Monday, July 23 recognizing 1,000 episodes scored a WrestleMania-level 3.84 rating for all three hours. The regular two hours scored a 4.02 rating. It was the first time Raw topped a 4.0 in three years dating back to June 22, 2009 when WWE offered a commercial-free episode. Outside of the commercial-free Raw, it was the first time since April 13, 2009 two weeks after WrestleMania 25.
Raw averaged 6.02 million viewers for all three hours. The standard two hours averaged 6.31 million viewers. It was the first time an episode of Raw topped six million viewers since the commercial-free episode in June 2009. Other than commercial-free, it was the first time since February 23, 2009 leading up to WM25. Raw started with a strong average audience of 5.44 million viewers in the new first hour. That alone was the most viewers for an hour of Raw in over one year dating back to May 23, 2011. Raw then averaged 6.32 million viewers in the second hour and stayed very even with an average of 6.30 million third hour viewers.
RAW’s Trendrr.tv social media score was also off the charts, with an overall score of 907,433. That’s up 277% from last week (240,889) and the most social media activity for RAW ever. The previous high score was 343,333 for the night after WrestleMania 28.
– According to the PWInsider, Randy Orton, who is currently serving a 60-day suspension for his second violation of WWE’s Talent Wellness Program, was backstage at Monday’s Raw emanating from his hometown of St. Louis, Missouri.
– Despite his character’s removal from television weeks ago, John Laurinaitis continues to work non-televised matches. A Handicap Match featuring the former Raw General Manager and Big Show versus John Cena has been announced to take place at the September 24 Raw taping emanating from Times Union Center in Albany, New York. Talent advertised to appear at the event include CM Punk, Randy Orton, Sheamus, Kane, Daniel Bryan, Dolph Ziggler, Christian, Kofi Kingston, Cody Rhodes, Sin Cara and Santino Marella.
– The planned title for WWE’s Brock Lesnar DVD and Blu-ray release is Brock Lesnar: Here Comes the Pain – Collector’s Edition, reports WWEDVDNews.com. The title will include the documentary featured in the 2003 DVD release Brock Lesnar – Here Comes the Pain!, as well as 30 minutes of new content, plus career matches. Brock Lesnar: Here Comes the Pain – Collector’s Edition will be released on October 30, 2012.
– WWE Superstars announcer Matt Striker heavily praised Stephanie McMahon upon seeing her on Monday’s landmark edition of Raw.
“Not just saying this but Stephanie is great. She’s beautiful, witty, athletic, creative and gets a better reaction than those who THINK they’re over. They can fire me tomorrow and I’d still stand by my last tweet.”
– During an interview featured in the latest WWE Magazine, Booker T revealed that the biggest mistake a young wrestler can make is not showing respect in the locker room:
“One of the lost arts of this business is respect. That’s truly one of the things that made this business what it is today. Respect is Number One for me. I came up in a company the South, and I was one of the few black guys on the roster. I had to earn respect from guys like Ric Flair. It didn’t come overnight. But I will never forget the night Ric Flair came right up to me and said, ‘Kid, I’m passing the torch to you.’ For Ric Flair to talk about passing the torch — well, that meant I had gained his respect after all those years.”
– Jim Ross commented on Monday’s Raw via Twitter:
“I really enjoyed my time in St Louis..#RAW1000 was a heck of a production. Pleased I got to visit the announce desk. Thx WWE & Twitterverse.”
– The July 21 episode of A.M. Raw draw a 0.34 cable rating, with 377,000 viewers.
– TNA star Kurt Angle tweeted the following about RAW 1,000:
Did not watch Raw 1000 Episode. Was on Honeymoon. Heard It Was Great.