– ESPN.com’s Enrique Rojas reports the Cubs have signed Starlin Castro to a 7-year/$60M contract extension. The deal includes a $16M option for 2020 which would boost the overall value of the deal to $76M. The contract covers four years of arbitration eligibility and three years of free agency. He’s now under contract at $8.57M in Average Annual Value. It’s a solid move by the Cubs to lock up the 22-year-old. Castro is hitting .276/.307/.422 with 12 homers in 495 plate appearances this season.
– Peter Abraham of the Boston Globe reports that Red Sox’ OF Carl Crawford (left elbow) will ask the team for permission to undergo Tommy John surgery next week. Crawford is having his most productive month since coming off the DL, but was expected to undergo TJS over the winter, so it’s possible he doesn’t want to delay the inevitable any longer. It’s unclear if the team will approve of the move with so many games left to be played. If Crawford undergoes the procedure, it will cost him the remainder of the 2012 season and will need to avoid setbacks to be ready for spring training.
– TMZ.com released a video Thursday of CM Punk backing WWE’s decision to terminate A.W.’s contract after he cracked a “rape joke” on the July 30, 2012 episode of Raw. Punk said,
“He got fired. Yeah. He made a rape joke. I don’t think—I don’t like to see anyone lose their job, but if anyone is justified in getting fired, ya know, making fun of rape… I don’t think that’s funny.”
A WWE spokesman claimed to TMZ.com last week that it wasn’t just the “rape joke” that cost A.W. his job, but rather “because he continued to exhibit poor judgment by making offensive and inappropriate comments on live television and on social media.” A.W. responded to Punk’s remarks via Twitter, writing,
“I see @CMPunk has become a bit vocal in saying I should have been fired for an (Alleged) rape joke. Well then why wasn’t Big Show fired?
“He wasn’t fired because he draws more money than I do. With @WWE it’s not about Morals… It’s about Money.”
A.W. then posted multiple messages alluding that Punk is racist, based on Punk’s cult-like savior character as the leader of the Straight Edge Society.
“This scene look familiar to anyone..?? Hey @CmPunk I know rape jokes aren’t cool but what are you suggesting here? pic.twitter.com/s1mSNFx8.”
“@WWE sure knows how to entertain its PG Universe. Charles Manson or the AntiChrist.. You decide! pic.twitter.com/9pcnnz1g.”
He also re-tweeted a message reading,
“HAHA i could see punk being a strait-edge-KKK supporter when the cameras go off….”
A.W. then responded to his critics,
“ALLOW ME TO SAY THIS TO YOU WANNA BE “HE PLAYED THE RACE CARD” HATERS!! ITS NOT A RACIAL ISSUE BUT AN OFFENSIVE TO SENSITIVE VIEWER ISSUE..”
– According to the PWInsider, primary names being discussed for the 2013 WWE Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony on April 6 at Madison Square Garden are individuals with connections to the New York City area.
Mick Foley, who hails from New York and was inspired to become a professional wrestler after watching “Superfly” Jimmy Snuka leap from the top of a steel cage in Madison Square Garden
Kevin Nash, who defeated Bob Backlund in eight seconds at Madison Square Garden to win the WWF Championship.
Bob Backlund, who declined an invitation to be enshrined in 2004 and headlined numerous events at Madison Square Garden in the 1970s and 1980s.
WWE officials have also discussed enshrining the late Randy Savage, although it is unknown as to whether his family, the Poffos, have been approached on the matter. In addition, Triple H has taken a much greater role in coordinating the Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony and WrestleMania than he has in the past for the events. It was his decision to reach out to Bruno Sammartino in June and he personally handled site surveying for MetLife Stadium.
– WWE pays tribute to “Macho Man” Randy Savage all September on WWE Classics On Demand with “Macho Madness.” The synopsis for the month of programming reads, according to WWE Magazine: “Relive unforgettable matches and moments featuring one of the most popular Superstars of all-time, “The Macho Man” Randy Savage. Plus, see the entire 2012 WWE Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony, including behind-the-scenes footage. Don’t miss the pomp and circumstance all month long on WWE Classics On Demand.”
– According to WWEDVDNews.com, a Raw 1,000 DVD and Blu-ray is scheduled to be released in December. The title will include moments from the 1000th episode, if not the entire episode, in addition to highlights from the history of the program. Also scheduled for release is Best PPV Matches of 2012 before the year concludes. This title will be released on DVD and Blu-ray. The 2012 edition of the Survivor Series will be released on Blu-ray after last year’s show was only released in the format in Europe.
– According to XTRA 910 Arizona’s Mike Jurecki, Cardinals’ RB Beanie Wells (knee surgery) is still having trouble cutting in practice. His status for Week 1 remains uncertain.