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MINNESOTA SPORTS BRIEFS: Another shut-out for Twins rookie pitcher

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Ellsworth Wisconsin 126 S. Chestnut St. 54011

MINNEAPOLIS - Andrew Albers threw his first career shutout in just his second big league start as the Minnesota Twins blanked the Cleveland Indians, 3-0, in the opener of a three-game set at Target Field.

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Albers (2-0), who pitched 8 1/3 shutout innings in his debut on Aug. 6, gave up a pair of hits and struck out two without issuing a walk. Albers became the first Twins pitcher to start a career with 17 1/3 scoreless frames. Trevor Plouffe hit a two-run homer and Brian Dozier added a solo shot for Minnesota, winners in four of their last five games. Albers is schedule to pitch again this weekend against the Chicago White Sox saturday at Target Field at 7:10 p.m.

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The Minnesota Twins announced yesterday that they have returned Wilkin Ramirez from his rehab assignment and reinstated him from the 15-day disabled list. Ramirez appeared in 14 combined rehab games for Double-A New Britain, Single-A Ft. Myers and the Gulf Coast League Twins. He went a combined 9-for-49 (.184). Originally placed on the 15-day disabled list May 26 with a concussion, Ramirez missed the Twins last 69 games.

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The Minnesota Vikings are officially into their third full week of training camp on the campus of Minnesota State. Yesterday they were on the field in the morning for a walk through followed by a full padded practice in the afternoon. Same situation today with the afternoon practice starting at 2:30 p.m. If you'll be in Mankato for today's practice, it's your lucky day. It's fan appreciation day and from 11:30-11:55 a.m. the entire team will be signing autographs. 

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Monday afternoon the Minnesota Timberwolves formally introduced guard Kevin Martin to the media. "This was an easy decision to come up here to Minnesota,' said Martin. "I've been overwhelmed with responses this week, people thanking me for coming here.' The Wolves acquired Martin almost a month ago as part of a three team trade. Martin is signed to a four year deal worth $28 million.

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Tickets for the October 10th NBA exhibition game between the Minnesota Timberwolves and Milwaukee Bucks at the Sanford Pentagon in Sioux Falls go on sale today at noon at ticketmaster.com. Tipoff for the game, which will be the first played on the Pentagon's Heritage Court, is 7 pm.

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The WNBA named Minnesota Lynx forward Maya Moore its Western Conference Player of the Week for games played Monday, August 5 through Sunday, August 11. This is Moore's first Player of the Week of the season and third of her career. On the week, Moore led the Western Conference in scoring (23.0 ppg), steals (3.3 spg) and made three-pointers (8) while ranking tied for fourth in assists (4.3 apg), fifth in field goal percentage (.578) and eighth in rebounding (6.3 rpg). The Minnesota Lynx remain atop the Western Conference at 17-5. The Lynx return to Target Center for a pair of games this weekend, facing off with the Tulsa Shock on Friday at 7 p.m. before seeing the New York Liberty for the first time this season on Sunday at 6 p.m.

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The University of Minnesota football team was on the field Monday after taking Sunday off following their first full scrimmage of training camp on Saturday night at TCF Bank Stadium. Head Coach Jerry Kill said after going back and looking at the video from Saturday night he was pleased with what he saw early on but things got a bit sloppy as the scrimmage continued. He wasn't worried though, said it was to be expected considering they're just about two weeks into camp. Practice #13 is today at 10:25 a.m. at the Gibson-Nagurski Complex. The Gophers open the season on August 29th at home against UNLV.

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The University of Minnesota volleyball program begins the 2013 season as the sixth-ranked team in the nation, announced yesterday by the American Volleyball Coaches Association. The last time Minnesota held a sixth-place preseason ranking dates back to 2010 after Minnesota came off a 2009 Final Four appearance. Minnesota opens the 2013 campaign August 30-31, at the UAB/Samford Challenge in Birmingham, Ala. The Golden Gophers open the home season, Sept. 6-7, hosting Ball State, Duke and Western Illinois as a part of the Diet Coke Classic. All home matches will be played at the Sports Pavilion on the University of Minnesota campus.

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For nine innings St. Paul Saints starter Anthony Claggett and Sioux Falls Canaries starter Kyle Ruwe went toe-to-toe. The Saints had three runners thrown out at home and a costly error in the top of the 11th proved to be the difference as the Saints lost a franchise high third 1-0 game this season in front of 5,165 at Midway Stadium. The same two teams meet in the second game of the three game series Tuesday at Midway Stadium at 12:05 p.m The Saints send LHP Cole Nelson (3-2, 2.43) to the mound against Canaries RHP Ben Moore (8-5, 4.03).

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The National Collegiate Hockey Conference (NCHC) announced yesterday that the NCAA Division One Board of Directors accepted the conference as a single-sport conference within the NCAA structure, effective immediately. The Board of Directors vote took place on August 8. The action came at the recommendation of the Administration Cabinet, which oversees the review and advancement of provisional and reclassifying members within and into Division I. In addition to the NCHC being accepted as a Division 1 conference member, the NCHC was granted an automatic qualifier (AQ) into the NCAA Tournament. Granting the AQ was due in large part to the NCHC having at least six members from a previous conference with automatic qualification (WCHA). The winner of the NCHC Tournament Championship in Minneapolis, Minn., will receive the automatic qualifier and represent the conference at the 16-team national tournament.

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The new MIAC Tennis Playoffs format - proposed and adopted by the coaches and approved by the MIAC Athletic Directors and Faculty Athletic Representatives - will give the postseason a significantly different look and feel for the MIAC. The Tennis Playoffs now mirror all other MIAC team-sport, single-elimination tournaments by awarding the top-seeded teams the right to host at their home facility The additional recovery period between matches will also be a huge benefit for the student-athletes. Previously, teams could have participated in as many as three matches in less than 48 hours, as the University of St. Thomas women's team did just this spring during their exciting run to the championship match. Spreading out the tournament will be a benefit for student-athlete well-being, and will ensure the participants enter each round in optimal condition.  

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