Chad Graff / St. Paul Pioneer Press
MINNEAPOLIS—The Twins next season will become the fifth team in major league history to host games in Puerto Rico when they play the Cleveland Indians in a two-game series in San Juan on April 17-18. The games will count as home games for the Twins, who were selected to host the first MLB games on the island in seven years.
BLAINE, Minn. — On one of his final trips to Minnesota, Arnold Palmer walked the TPC Twin Cities with a notebook in hand, drawing out plans for how he would update the Blaine golf course to make it suitable for a PGA Tour event. Now Hollis Cavner, organizer of the annual 3M Championship held there, and the course are trying to make the late Palmer's vision a reality. Partnered again with 3M, the group has made a bid to the PGA Tour to host a tournament in 2019, and it is optimistic it will be granted an event that could be held annually at TPC Twin Cities.
CHASKA, Minn. — After a successful showing as host of the Ryder Cup, Hazeltine National has been awarded the 2019 Women's PGA Championship, formerly known as the LPGA Championship. The tournament will be held June 20-23, the club said Friday, and hinted that more major-tournament golf could be on its way to the Chaska.
NASHVILLE, Tenn. — On Jan. 5, 2016, Wild general manager Chuck Fletcher got a close-up look at Ryan Johansen, then a 23-year-old center with plenty of promise but enough baggage that the Columbus Blue Jackets were looking to trade him for a defenseman. That day 17 months ago, Fletcher sat a few booths down from Blue Jackets general manager Jarmo Kekalainen as the Wild played in Columbus. The two had chatted about a potential trade, but the Wild left Columbus with Fletcher either unwilling or unable to net Johansen, the type of big, scoring center they have long lacked.
EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn.—In the midst of a breakout campaign that made him a Vikings starter, Adam Thielen presumed he'd spend time in the offseason reflecting on the wild ride from small-town star at Minnesota State to the Vikings' leading receiver. But even with a new three-year, $27 million contract signed in the offseason, Thielen said the moment for reflection still hasn't come. Now, he's dedicated to proving last season wasn't a fluke. Thielen is a Detroit Lakes High School and Minnesota State University-Mankato graduate.
ST. PAUL — In the first few weeks after the Lynx lost the WNBA championship by a single point in October, point guard Lindsay Whalen wished she had joined so many other professional women's basketball players overseas, where a larger paycheck and another basketball season await. But for the second straight year, after nine consecutive playing internationally, the 34-year-old Minnesotan took the offseason off in an attempt to return to the Lynx refreshed and ready to go.
EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn. — In the days leading to his rookie tryout with the Vikings, Tommy Armstrong, the former Nebraska quarterback, has spent lots of time watching video of Braxton Miller, his former Big Ten foe who successfully transitioned from Ohio State signal caller to Houston Texans wide receiver.
ST. PAUL—The Wild's two most important pending free agents failed to score in the team's first-round playoff loss to the St. Louis Blues, prompting questions about whether general manager Chuck Fletcher can commit long-term contracts to Mikael Granlund and Nino Niederreiter. While both excelled during the regular season — Granlund finished second on the team in goals (26), Niederreiter third (25) — the pair has combined to score just two goals, one apiece, in the past 11 playoff games on a team desperate for postseason success.
By the time the Wild's regular season was over, Marco Scandella was eager to turn the page. Happy that his team recorded the best season in franchise history, the defenseman was ready to move on from what was an underwhelming individual performance. Scandella's ice time was the lowest in any season during which he played at least 20 games, and his four goals were the fewest since his first season as an everyday player in 2013-14.
MINNEAPOLIS — The Twins aren't ready to send Byron Buxton to the minors, Paul Molitor said, but the manager admitted he's heard the debate over whether the center fielder's excellent defense is worth his dismal performance at the plate. Buxton was 0 for 2 on Thursday afternoon in the Twins' 6-2 loss to the Cleveland Indians, leaving him with four hits in 49 at bats to go with an American League-high 24 strikeouts.