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June 20, 2012

AP Source: Harvin requests trade from Vikings

Filed under: Sports — Breaking News @ 11:36 am

Associated Press

EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn. — Star receiver Percy Harvin wants out of Minnesota.

One day after expressing frustration over several unspecified issues with the Vikings, a person with knowledge of the situation told The Associated Press on Wednesday that Harvin has requested a trade. The person spoke on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the issue.

Harvin voiced frustration with the Vikings on Tuesday at the first day of mandatory minicamp. He did not say what his specific issues were with the team, only saying that he was unhappy with several things and wanted them addressed before training camp begins at the end of July.

“I just put it this way, there’s a lot of different things that have to be sorted out,” Harvin said Tuesday. “Just haven’t been really happy lately. We’ve got a couple of things to work on. I’m here in the classroom. We’ll go from there.”

Given Harvin’s status as a 24-year-old rising star and one of the team’s top players, the request is unlikely to be granted. Coach Leslie Frazier said Tuesday that he was confident any issues Harvin had could be resolved well before training camp.

“I really feel like when he and I sit down and talk in depth,” Frazier said, “whatever is in his heart or on his mind, we’ll get through it.”

Harvin, who is still recovering from offseason shoulder surgery, worked out with the team during an afternoon practice Tuesday and said later in the day that he did not want to be a distraction and would only wanted to talk about football issues.

He has two years left on his rookie contract, but it was not immediately clear how much that had to do with his displeasure, if at all. The Vikings are coming off of consecutive last-place finishes in the NFC North and have entered a rebuilding phase centered on Harvin, Peterson, who is recovering from a torn ACL, and second-year quarterback Christian Ponder.

June 19, 2012

Norwood Teague takes over at Minnesota

Filed under: Sports, State — Breaking News @ 7:23 am

Associated Press

MINNEAPOLIS — On his first day on the job as the new athletic director at Minnesota, Norwood Teague proclaimed the long-talked about and exhaustively negotiated contract extension for men’s basketball coach Tubby Smith “at the very end” of completion.

Once that deal is in place, the Golden Gophers will have all three of their highest profile coaches, including football coach Jerry Kill and men’s hockey coach Don Lucia, under contract for the long term. It’s an odd situation for an incoming athletic director to not be choosing “his guys” for the biggest jobs, one not lost on Teague as he takes over a fledgling athletic department that needs a shot in the arm.

“It is a little bit different because I’ve always had to replace those guys very quickly,” Teague told The Associated Press on Monday, his first official day on the job. “And that’s fine.

“I’ll have more time to do other things rather than concentrate on looking for coaches in those areas right away because it can be challenging when you come to a new place and you have to replace one of your high profile coaches right away. You’re not always sure what the great fit is going to be because you’re not immersed in that culture yet.”

The stability at the top of the school’s three biggest programs could be just what Teague needs, because he certainly has a lot of other work to do. The Gophers hired him away from Virginia Commonwealth to replace outgoing athletic director Joel Maturi, who spent 10 years at Minnesota developing a well-rounded and competitive department, but one that lacked significant success in the two biggest sports — football and men’s basketball.

Kill is starting the second season of his plan to overhaul the football program while Smith has been here for five years and still hasn’t delivered on the expectations he was saddled with after leaving Kentucky.

Teague’s biggest task early will be to revitalize a fan base that has grown weary of the mediocrity and find new sources of revenue from alumni to help build a practice facility for the men’s basketball team and upgrade the football team’s practice digs as well.

June 18, 2012

Roger Clemens acquitted on all charges

Filed under: Nation, Sports — Breaking News @ 4:20 pm

Associated Press

WASHINGTON — Roger Clemens has been acquitted on all charges by a jury that decided he didn’t lie to Congress when he denied using performance-enhancing drugs.

Jurors returned their verdict Monday after close to 10 hours of deliberation. The outcome brings an end to a 10-week trial that capped an expensive, five-year investigation into one of the greatest pitchers in the history of baseball.

The 49-year-old Clemens was accused of perjury, making false statements and obstructing Congress when he testified at a deposition and at a nationally-televised hearing in February 2008. The charges centered on his repeated denials that he used steroids and human growth hormone during his 24-year career.

The verdict is the latest blow to the government’s pursuit of athletes accused of drug use.

June 17, 2012

Twins closer Capps out with shoulder inflammation

Filed under: Sports — Breaking News @ 12:33 pm

Associated Press

MINNEAPOLIS — Minnesota Twins closer Matt Capps is not available to pitch against the Milwaukee Brewers because of a sore right shoulder.

Manager Ron Gardenhire said Sunday he hoped Capps would be ready when the team plays Tuesday night in Pittsburgh. The Twins are off Monday.

Capps gave up a two-run, game-winning homer to Milwaukee’s Martin Maldonado with two outs in the ninth inning Friday night.

In 26 games, Capps is 1-4 with a 3.55 ERA and has 14 saves in 15 opportunities.

June 16, 2012

Furyk, McDowell share US Open lead after Round 3

Filed under: Sports — Breaking News @ 9:41 pm

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — While Tiger Woods tumbled down the leaderboard, Graeme McDowell and Jim Furyk shared the top spot heading into the final round of the U.S. Open.

McDowell stuck his approach to 4-feet on the 18th hole to set up a birdie for a 2-under 68 on Saturday. Furyk followed moments later with a 15-foot putt on the 17th to regain a share of the lead, and closed with a par for a 70.

At 1 under, the two major champions are the only players at the unforgiving Olympic Club course under par.

Fredrik Jacobson shot a 68 to move two strokes back.

Woods wasted his share of the 36-hole lead with six bogeys and only one birdie for a 75. The 14-time major champion will begin the final round five shots back.

Twins send reliever Oliveros down after 2 days

Filed under: Sports — Breaking News @ 8:41 am

Associated Press

MINNEAPOLIS — The Minnesota Twins have sent right-handed reliever Lester Oliveros back to Triple-A Rochester after only two days on the roster.

The move was made after Friday night’s loss to Milwaukee so right-hander Liam Hendriks could be officially recalled to make his start on Saturday afternoon.

Manager Ron Gardenhire said the Twins “can’t afford to get rid of a player right now” with road games against National League foes Pittsburgh and Cincinnati next week. Plus, first baseman Justin Morneau was held out of Friday’s game due to soreness in his left forearm and said afterward he wasn’t sure he’d be able to play on Saturday.

Liriano loses lead, Twins fall to Brewers 5-3

Filed under: Sports — Breaking News @ 8:40 am

Associated Press

MINNEAPOLIS — Francisco Liriano faltered again in a critical moment.

Matt Capps followed suit.

Capps yielded a tiebreaking two-run homer to Martin Maldonado in the ninth inning, sending the Minnesota Twins to a 5-3 loss to the Milwaukee Brewers on Friday night.

Corey Hart started the ninth with a double against Capps (1-4). Then with two outs and two strikes, Maldonado sent a fastball into the bullpen.

“I felt good with my slider. In hindsight, I should’ve thrown another one there,” Capps said.

Then John Axford pitched a 1-2-3 inning for his 11th save, following blown save chances in each of the last two games at Kansas City.

Ryan Braun ended Liriano’s no-hit bid with a one-out, three-run homer in the sixth inning on the left-hander’s 97th pitch after a pair of walks. Trevor Plouffe tied it at 3 with a drive off Yovani Gallardo in the bottom half for his second home run of the night, his seventh in seven games and No. 14 for the season.

But Manny Parra, Kameron Loe (3-2) and Axford combined to limit the Twins to a pair of singles over the last three innings.

June 15, 2012

Weather cancels Cannon Falls Road Race

Filed under: Severe weather, Sports — Breaking News @ 9:46 am

MINNEAPOLIS  — Severe weather has forced Nature Valley Grand Prix officials to cancel the Cannon Falls Road Race.

The Cannon Falls Road Race is the third stage of the six-stage event for men and women. It’s the second time in three years that weather has forced officials to cancel that stage of the race.

In 2010, tornado warnings brought the men’s race to a stop 40 minutes after the start, and the women’s race never went off. This year, riders didn’t even make it to the starting line of the 73.4-mile road race Thursday.

Weather permitting, the Grand Prix will continue Friday with the Uptown Minneapolis Criterium. The women race 28 laps while the men go for 40 laps. All standings after Stage 2 will carry over to Friday night’s event.

June 13, 2012

Judge dismisses image lawsuit against NFL

Filed under: Sports — Breaking News @ 5:51 pm

Associated Press

MINNEAPOLIS — A federal judge has dismissed an antitrust lawsuit filed by three retired football players that accused the NFL of constraining the use of former players’ images and likenesses.

U.S. District Judge Paul A. Magnuson issued the ruling Wednesday. Magnuson wrote that retired players Gene Washington, Sean Lumpkin and Diron Talbert “have utterly failed to make out a claim for violation of the antitrust laws.”

The lawsuit was filed in November 2011. In it, the players said the league and its teams violated antitrust laws by not allowing them the rights to game films and images from the games in which they played.

Magnuson also wrote that “no amount of legal tongue-twisting will turn their claims into antitrust claims.”

Twins sign No. 2 pick Buxton, give him $6 million bonus

Filed under: Sports — Breaking News @ 3:29 pm

Associated Press

MINNEAPOLIS — The Minnesota Twins have signed second overall pick Byron Buxton, an 18-year-old outfielder from Appling County High School in Georgia.

The Twins announced the signing on Wednesday, one day after Buxton joined the team for batting practice and a physical at Target Field. Buxton receives a $6 million signing bonus, which makes it the biggest contract in this year’s draft class.

The Houston Astros gave No. 1 overall pick Carlos Correa a $4.2 million bonus.

Buxton hit .513 with three home runs and 38 stolen bases during his senior season. He also pitched, striking out 18 batters in seven innings in the Georgia Class Double-A State Championship series. The Twins, however, plan on keeping him in the outfield.

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