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Minnesota Sports Roundup: Twins host Boston for a three-game weekend series

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MINNEAPOLIS -- The Twins had Thursday off as they prepared for a three game weekend series against the Boston Red Sox. The series starts tonight with Vance Worley putting his 1-4 record for the Twins up against Clay Bucholz and his perfect 6-0 start. Last week the Twins were in Boston and took three of four from the Red Sox. However they've won just twice in the six games since. This season the Twins are 9-10 on their home field. First pitch is scheduled for 7:10.

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Minnesota Wild goaltender Niklas Backstrom underwent successful sports hernia surgery on Thursday as was announced by the team. Dr. William Meyers performed the surgery in Philadelphia. Backstrom is expected to be fully recovered for the start of the 2013-14 season. Backstrom shouldered the bulk of the playing time between the pipes this season for Minnesota up until the playoffs. He suffered his injury 15 minutes before the start of Game 1 in pregame warmups vs Chicago and did not make an appearance in the series.

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The Minnesota Timberwolves announced on Thursday that All-Star forward Kevin Love will represent the team at the 2013 NBA Draft Lottery to be held Tuesday, May 21. The event will be televised on ESPN from New York City. The Wolves are currently slotted to pick ninth overall with a 1.7% chance of grabbing the #1 overall pick, a 2% chance at drafting second and a 2.41% chance of drafting third. The Timberwolves also own the 26th overall pick in the first round and two second round choices. The 2013 NBA Draft will be held June 27th at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York. __________________________________________________________________________

The University of Minnesota softball team will make its first NCAA Regional appearance since 2003 tonight in Seattle, Washington. The Gophers will face Hawaii at 5:30 p.m. CT. Minnesota is coming off a second place finish at the 2013 Big Ten Tournament in Lincoln, Nebraska. The third seeded Gophers knocked off both Penn State and Nebraska before falling to Wisconsin 9-3 in the championship game After starting the season 3-6 the Gophers have gone 32-11 since that point including 14-6 in the Big Ten, good for third place. This season marked the third straight 30-plus win season for Minnesota.

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Former Vikings punter Chris Kluwe has landed a new home with the Oakland Raiders, as first reported by FoxSports.com. The 31-year-old Kluwe was released by the Vikings on May 6th. Last season he averaged 45.0 yards on 72 punts. He's the all time Vikings leader in average yards per punt at 44.4 and second in all-time total punt yards at 27,683. A formal announcement from the Raiders is expected later today. Kluwe's contract is reportedly for on year and is for the league minimum. __________________________________________________________________________

The Big Ten office announced the conference schedule for the 2014 football season yesterday. The schedule will consist of eight games for each of the Big Ten's 14 teams, feature a new division alignment, include the conference debut of Maryland and Rutgers and culminate with the fourth annual Big Ten Championship Game.

***GOPHERS 2014 BIG TEN SCHEDULE***

SEPT 27, 2014 AT MICHIGAN

OCT 4, 2014 BYE

OCT 11, 2014 VS NORTHWESTERN

OCT 18, 2014 VS PURDUE

OCT 25, 2014 AT ILLINOIS

NOV 1, 2014 BYE

NOV 8, 2014 VS IOWA

NOV 15, 2014 VS OHIO STATE

NOV 22, 2014 AT NEBRASKA

NOV 29, 2014 AT WISCONSIN

DEC 6, 2014 BIG TEN CHAMPIONSHIP GAME

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