– ESPN’s Ron Jaworski is attending Jets’ training camp, and says he’s seen improvements in QB Tim Tebow’s throwing motion. ”The one thing I’ve noticed about Tim Tebow — and it’s a small sampling thus far — is his stroke is much better. It’s cleaner. It’s not as elongated. He’s not dropping the football. That means the ball will come out quicker.” Tebow could realistically take over the starting job from QB Mark Sanchez at any time.
– Broncos’ QB Peyton Manning (neck surgeries) tells SI that he doesn’t feel like he’s near 100% yet. Per ESPN’s Josina Anderson, most of Manning’s throws “have been short and intermediate, with only a handful of them long.” SI’s Peter King writes that Manning may have to become a “chain-mover” while limiting his deep passes. Stay tuned.
– Police say Titans’ WR O.J. Murdock has died after a self-inflicted gunshot wound Monday morning in Tampa Bay. Murdock had been absent from camp for “personal reasons.” Police reportedly discovered him at 8:30 a.m. in his car in front of his old high school, after he attempted suicide. He was taken to the hospital with critical injuries and later died. Murdock, who played two years of college ball at South Carolina, spent his only NFL season (2011) on IR with a foot injury.
– Broncos’ RB Knowshon Moreno (ACL surgery) has been cleared to participate in team drills, and was running with the second-team offence on Monday. Moreno was limited to 7-on-7 drills and individual workouts for the first five days of camp. Moreno will be competing for the backup halfback job.
– Packers’ TE Jermichael Finley (concussion) returned to a limited practice Monday, but is not yet taking contact. Finley sustained a “mild” concussion during Thursday’s practice.
– According to the Miami Herald, the Dolphins “privately believe” free agent WR Braylon Edwards (knee) is healthy. The Herald’s Armando Salguero notes the organization is comfortable with Edwards’ off-field behaviour because he’s been trouble-free since 2010. The Herald also writes the Dolphins are interested in adding Edwards “for the right price and with the right timing.”
– According to ESPN’s Buster Olney, the Red Sox are “unlikely” to trade RHP Josh Beckett. Olney says the Sox talked to a “small handful of teams about him,” but nothing that would entice them to pull the trigger yet. Beckett is owed a total of $31.5M over the next two seasons. He has a 4.57 ERA in 17 starts this year.
– Buster Olney of ESPN reports that Phillies’ LHP Cliff Lee is “in play in trade talks.” Olney suggests that the Rangers are “the most logical landing spot,” and lists prospect 3B Mike Olt as a potential asset going the other way. CBS Sports’ Jon Heyman, however, reported Monday that a source calls the Rangers a “long shot” for Lee, and that he’s unlikely to be traded at the deadline. The Dodgers, who were believed to have interest earlier, are no longer in the mix because of the money involved. Lee is owed $25M annually from 2013-2015 and carries a $27.5M club option for 2015 with a $12.5M buyout.
Phillies’ OFs Hunter Pence, Shane Victorino and Juan Pierre are also reportedly being shopped, and Heyman reports that the Giants are pursuing Pence. A local television station in San Francisco reported Sunday night that the Giants had a “deal in place” for Pence, however, the report wasn’t true. The 29-year-old is batting .271/.336/.447 with 17 home runs and 59 RBI in 101 games played this season. He’ll make close to $15M in arbitration next year before hitting the open market leading into 2014.
In addition, CBS Sports’ Danny Knobler also reports that the Orioles have talked to Philly about RHP Joe Blanton. He’s scheduled to become a free agent five days after the conclusion of the World Series. The Phills are likely to shop their veterans in order to free up cap space for next season.
– Jeff Passan of Yahoo! Sports writes that Rays’ RHP James Shields “is staying in Tampa Bay.” The Rays are just two games back of a Wild Card spot, and will be getting 3B Evan Longoria (torn hamstring) back in the lineup shortly.
– Tim Brown of Yahoo! Sports reports that the Dodgers and Cubs are still discussing a trade involving RHP Ryan Dempster. The Braves may also still be in the mix, despite Dempster exercising his 10-and-5 rights to veto a trade there. The 35-year-old has a 2.25 ERA and 1.04 WHIP in 104 innings this season.
– FOX Sports’ Jon Paul Morosi reports that the Phillies have interest in Padres’ 3B Chase Headley. Philly is in need of a long-term option at third, however, recent reports indicate that San Diego may wait until the offseason to try and move Headley, as it may allow teams to free up money, adding more teams to the list of potential suitors. Headley, 28, is under team control through 2014. The Yankees, Indians, A’s and Pirates have all expressed interest.
– Buster Olney of ESPN reports that the Indians are “unlikely” to trade OF Shin-Soo Choo. ”They’d need the perfect offer to make it happen.” Choo, 30, has a .291/.378/.484 batting line with 12 home runs and 39 RBI in 96 games this season. He’s under contract with Cleveland through 2013. The Pirates are known to have interest.
– Wolves’ G Ricky Rubio (knee) will return to Vail, Colorado to have a checkup on his surgically-repaired knee. Rubio is expected to return to the U.S. on “either Saturday or Sunday,” and will then go to Vail to see his surgeon. He had previously stated that he hoped to resume running in September, but GM David Kahn said that the team will have “more info to share” after Rubio’s checkup.
– Wizards’ F Nene (foot) is still battling plantar fasciitis that began affecting him since the end of March. Nene was walking with a “slight limp” after Brazil’s win over Australia on Sunday, according to the Washington Post, and the plantar fasciitis has “flared up.”