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MINNESOTA SPORTS ROUNDUP: Gardenhire re-upped as Twins' manager

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MINNEAPOLIS – Minnesota Twins manager Ron Gardenhire will return for a 13th year as manager of the ballclub.

 Gardenhire's contract expired at the end of the season on Sunday and his status was up in the air immediately afterwards. The team and manager said they'd like to wait until the season was over before any decisions were made. They didn't wait long. The two sides agreed to a two-year contract that will keep Gardy on the Twins bench at least through 2015. Gardenhire has won 998 games in 12 seasons with the Twins. He has guided Minnesota to six division titles and won the 2010 American League Manager of the Year Award. But, his teams have lost more than 90 games in each of the past three seasons. "Gardy" says he wants to be part of the rebuilding of the franchise.

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Twins outfielder Byron Buxton has been named the winner of the 2013 Sherry Robertson Award as the Twins Minor League Player of the Year. The 19-year-old rookie from Baxley, Georgia, combined to hit 334 with 12 home runs and 77 runs driven in at Class A Cedar Rapids and Class AA Fort Myers. Andrew Albers is the Jim Rantz Award winner as the team's minor league Pitcher of the Year. The 27-year-old lefty was 11-and-5 in the minor leagues this year, before being called up to the big league Twins in August.

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Commissioner Bud Selig is naming Rob Manfred the chief operating officer of Major League Baseball. The move comes on the heels of Selig's announcement last week that he will retire from his post as commissioner in January 2015. Selig will continue to lead the industry and will focus on significant baseball policy matters. Manfred, who has worked for MLB since 1998, will now oversee day-to-day management of the commissioner's office in New York.

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Minnesota Vikings’ fans could find out more today about the future of the quarterback position for the team. Reserve signal caller Matt Cassell  rifled a pair of scoring strikes to receiver Greg Jennings and totaled 248 passing yards in Sunday's 34-27 win over Pittsburgh in London. The victory was the first this season for Minnesota. Cassell was filling in for the injured starter Christian Ponder. Head coach Leslie Frazier said after the game that he was happy for Cassell, but Ponder is still considered the No. 1 QB. He is scheduled to meet with reporters again today, which will be his first public comments since reviewing game tape from the London win. Minnesota has a bye this coming week and hosts Carolina on October 13th.

Here is the 2013 Vikings schedule and results:

Sunday, September 8 - Detroit 34, Minnesota 24 (final)

Sunday, September 15 - Chicago 31, Minnesota 30 (final)

Sunday, September 22 - Cleveland 31, Minnesota 27 (final)

Sunday, September 29 - Minnesota 34, Pittsburgh 27 (final)

Sunday, October 6 - BYE WEEK

Sunday, October 13 - vs. Carolina, noon

Monday, October 21 - at NY Giants, 7:30pm

Sunday, October 27 - vs. Green Bay, 7:40pm

Sunday, November 3 - at Dallas, noon

Thursday, November 7 - vs. Washington, 7:25pm

Sunday, November 17 - at Seattle, 3:25pm**

Sunday, November 24 - at Green Bay, noon**

Sunday, December 1 - vs. Chicago, noon**

Sunday, December 8 - at Baltimore, noon**

Sunday, December 15 - vs. Philadelphia, noon**

Sunday, December 22 - at Cincinnati, noon**

Sunday, December 29 - vs. Detroit, noon**

** - gametime subject to NFL Flex Scheduling

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The University of Minnesota quarterback situation is also a bit unclear. Phillip Nelson of Mankato started Saturday's game against Iowa and tossed a pair of interceptions in the 23-7 defeat. Mitch Leidner of Lakeville had played the previous game against San Jose State and won Freshman of the Week honors for that effort He did not see the field against the Hawkeyes. Head coach Jerry Kill is scheduled to brief reporters today on campus. 4-1 Minnesota is at 4-0 Michigan this Saturday for a 2:30 p.m. kickoff.

Here is the 2013 Golden Gopher football schedule with results to date:

Thursday, August 29 - Minnesota 51, UNLV 23 (final)

Saturday, September 7 - Minnesota 44, New Mexico State 21 (final)

Saturday, September 14 - Minnesota 29, Western Illinois 12 (final)

Saturday, September 21 - Minnesota 43, San Jose State 24 (final)

Saturday, September 28 - Iowa 23, Minnesota 7 (final)

Saturday, October 5 - at Michigan, 2:30pm

Saturday, October 19 - at Northwestern, TBD

Saturday, October 26 - vs. Nebraska, TBD

Saturday, November 2 - at Indiana, 2:30pm

Saturday, November 9 - vs. Penn State, TBD

Saturday, November 23 - vs Wisconsin, TBD

Saturday, November 30 - at Michigan State, TBD

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Eight regions have submitted bids to host the 2016 and 2017 College Football National Championship games. The Twin Cities was among six regions to bid for the 2017 contest. San Francisco, Jacksonville, San Antonio, South Florida and Tampa were the others.

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University of Iowa senior linebacker James Morris was named the Big Ten Conference Defensive Player of the Week for his work against the Minnesota Golden Gophers last Saturday. Morris recorded eight tackles, a sack and an interception in Iowa's 23-7 victory over Minnesota on homecoming in Minneapolis. This is the first weekly honor for the senior from Solon, Iowa.

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University of Minnesota volleyball player Ashley Wittman of Shakopee is the Big Ten Defensive Player of the Week. She helped the No. 9 Gophers to a sweep of Indiana and 20th-ranked Purdue this past week. Minnesota is now 14-1 on the season and will play at 12th-ranked Nebraska on Friday and at unranked Iowa on Saturday.

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The NSIC has named its weekly award winners in volleyball. Concordia-St. Paul sophomore middle blocker Heather Schiller of Coon Rapids is the league's Offensive Player of the week. Her senior teammate Amanda Konetchy of Victoria is the Setter of the Week. And, Minnesota State-Moorhead ophomore middle blocker Kaitlin VanWinkle of Farmington is the conference's Defensive Player of the Week.

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The NSIC and the MIAC has named weekly award winners in soccer. Minnesota State-Mankato sophomore Korey Kronforst of Cary, Illinois is the NSIC women's soccer Offensive Player of the Week. Upper Iowa sophomore goalkeeper Kaitlyn Emanuel of Byron is the league's Goalie of the Week. And, Southwest Minnesota State sophomore Danica Requejo of Yucaipa, California is the conference's Defensive Player of the Week. Carleton junior Bailey Ulbricht of Severna Park, Maryland is the MIAC women's soccer Player of the Week. Carleton senior Neil Bartholomay of St. Paul is the men's soccer weekly honoree.

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Game One of the WNBA Finals will take place in Minneapolis on Sunday night when the host Lynx welcome Atlanta to town. Game Two will also be at the Target Center on Tuesday. The best-of-five series will shift to Atlanta for Game Three on Thursday. Here is the 2013 WNBA Final slate:

Game One (Sunday, October 6th): Atlanta at Minnesota, 7:30pm

Game Two (Tuesday, October 8th): Atlanta at Minnesota, 7pm

Game Three (Thursday, October 10th): Minnesota at Atlanta, 7:30pm

Game Four (Sunday, October 13th): Minnesota at Atlanta, 7pm (if necessary)

Game Five (Wednesday, October 16th): Atlanta at Minnesota, 7pm (if necessary)

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The Minnesota Timberwolves hosted their annual media day yesterday at the Target Center and head coach Rick Adelman says there was very little doubt in his mind that he'd be back with the team this year. Between his wife's health and a change in team management, there was some doubt in the early summer as to whether Adelman would return. The head coach says coming back for a third year was something he believed he'd do. Adelman says he is certain the team will score points, but he is concerned about the unit's ability to play defense. Minnesota signed guard A.J. Price on Monday to finalize its camp roster. The Wolves will have 18 players in training camp, which begins today in Mankato. The T'wolves open preseason play next Monday against a team from Russia at the Target Center and begin the regular season on October 30th with a home game against Orlando.

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The Minnesota Wild have their second day of workouts in Duluth today. The NHL regular season opener for Minnesota is set for Thursday night against the Los Angeles Kings in St. Paul. The Wild will return to town tomorrow for another practice at the Xcel Energy Center and will have a morning skate on gameday on Thursday. The Wild finished with 55 points last season and grabbed the eighth seed in the playoffs but lost in the opening round to Chicago. The Kings were fifth in the West last year with 59 points.

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The NHL is instituting hybrid icing for the regular season. The NHL Players Association voted in favor of the rule after a trial basis during the preseason. The change is designed to make the game safer by eliminating the full bore races to the end boards for the puck. The linesman can whistle icing if the defending player is clearly ahead of the attacking player in pursuit of the puck.

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The AHL Iowa Wild will hold a scrimmage tomorrow at Wells Fargo Arena. The event is open to the public and free of admission with the donation of one non-perishable food item per person. Seating will be on a first-come, first-serve basis. It's the first chance fans will get to see the team prior to the regular season. The Iowa Wild are the AHL affiliate of the Minnesota Wild. Des Moines is roughly four hours south of the Twin Cities.

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NASCAR's Chase for the Sprint Cup heads to the heartland this week. Drivers will take aim at Kansas Speedway in Sunday's Hollywood Casino 400. Matt Kenseth maintains an eight-point lead on last week's winner at Dover, Jimmie Johnson. Kyle Busch is 12 points back of Kenseth with seven races to go.

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