Twins pick up Kubel’s option, decline Punto’s option

By: Kelly Thesier/MLB.com

MINNEAPOLIS — The Twins have exercised Jason Kubel’s club option for the 2011 season and they’ve declined Nick Punto’s club option, the team announced Friday morning.

Kubel’s salary in 2011 will be $5.25 million. He batted .249 with 21 home runs and 92 RBIs in 143 games with the Twins in 2010. After starting last season as the club’s everyday designated hitter, Kubel spent nearly the entire second half playing in right field for the Twins. He was used almost exclusively in right field after Michael Cuddyer shifted to first base in the absence of Justin Morneau, who suffered a season-ending concussion on July 7.

The Twins chose not to exercise Punto’s $5 million option for the 2011 season. Punto, who will receive a $500,000 buyout, will become a free agent.

Punto played in 88 games for the Twins in 2010. He batted .238 with 11 doubles, one triple, one home run and 20 RBIs. The infielder was hampered by a strained left hamstring late in the season and he went on the disabled list twice with the injury.

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