Results tagged ‘ Jason Kubel ’

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

By: Kelly Thesier/

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.

Wednesday Lineups: Twins at Blue Jays

Michael Cuddyer is getting a little breather today while manager Ron Gardenhire shuffles the lineup a bit to get Joe Mauer in the DH spot. With Cuddyer out, Kubel is in right field. And yes, for those of you who were aware of yesterday’s lineup mixup, that’s accurate this time.

Francisco Liriano has been activated from the disabled list but he won’t be available out of the bullpen until tomorrow.

As for Joe Crede, Gardenhire said that he’s not ready to start in the field right now. The belief is that if Crede were to dive in the field, his back probably would not be able to handle that yet. So instead, Crede is being looked at as a pinch-hitter or perhaps a DH option against a left-handed pitcher.

The Twins have a stiff test in Toronto tonight as they face Roy Halladay, who is 8-0 with a 2.77 ERA in his career against Minnesota. There aren’t many Twins with strong numbers against Halladay with the exception of Delmon Young, who is 6-for-14 (.429). So Young is in left field again tonight.

Here are today’s lineups:

Twins (69-69)
2nd place in AL Central, 6.5 games back

Denard Span, CF
Orlando Cabrera, SS
Joe Mauer, DH
Justin Morneau, 1B
Jason Kubel, RF
Delmon Young, LF
Brian Buscher, 3B
Jose Morales, C
Nick Punto, 2B
Pitching: RHP Carl Pavano (11-11, 5.09)

Blue Jays (62-76)
4th place in AL East, 27 games back

Marco Scutaro, SS
Jose Bautista, RF
Adam Lind, DH
Lyle Overbay, 1B
Vernon Wells, CF
Rod Barajas, C
Edwin Encarnacion, 3B
Travis Snider, LF
John McDonald, 2B

Pitching: RHP Roy Halladay (14-8, 2.98)

A reminder you can follow me on Twitter  @kellythesier

Kubel in, Morneau still out

Jason Kubel still had a sleeve on his left knee Wednesday afternoon, but he told manager Ron Gardenhire that he was good enough to play. So Kubel is back in the lineup as the DH.

Carlos Gomez’s hand is also still a little sore after getting hit with a pitch (or not according to the umpires last night), although he said the wrapping around his wrist helped to prevent it from being worse.

Justin Morneau on the other hand is still feeling the lingering effects of his inner ear infection. While doctors have told him that the infection has cleared up, he is still being affected by dizzy spells and feeling lightheaded. It’s as if things are “in slow motion” at times, he said. The hope is that new medication will help Morneau to feel better.

Gardnehire said he’s going to be patient with Morneau and hope that he’s better perhaps tomorrow. It seems that neither Morneau nor Gardenhire want to see the first baseman wind up on the disabled list, so they’ll wait a couple days to see how Morneau is feeling.

Of course there was more talk about Mauer’s incredible run of late, I’ll have more on that later. But here is one impressive note to leave you with — according to the Elais Sports Bureau, Mauer is one of five American League players to have at least 25 home runs and a .380 batting average this late in the season. The others were Ted Williams (1941 and 1957), Joe DiMaggio (1939), Lou Gehrig (1930 and 1936) and Babe Ruth (1931).

Yeah, that’s pretty good company.

Here are today’s lineups:

Twins (57-62)
3rd place in AL Central, 6.5 games back

Denard Span, RF
Orlando Cabrera, SS
Joe Mauer, C
Jason Kubel, DH
Michael Cuddyer, 1B
Joe Crede, 3B
Delmon Young, LF
Carlos Gomez, CF
Nick Punto, 2B
Pitching: RHP Scott Baker (10-7, 4.54)

Rangers (67-51)
2nd place in AL West, 5.5 games back (tied for AL Wild Card lead)

Julio Borbon, DH
Michael Young, 3B
Josh Hamilton, RF
Marlon Byrd, CF
David Murphy, LF
Ian Kinsler, 2B
Hank Blalock, 1B
Ivan Rodriguez, C
Elvis Andrus, SS
Pitching: RHP Kevin Millwood (9-7, 3.31)

A reminder you can follow me on Twitter  @kellythesier

Welcome Back, Denard Span

One of the first people I saw walking around on the field when I arrived at Miller Park this afternoon was Denard Span. The outfielder made it through his two rehab games at Triple-A Rochester alive — although not without a new bruise, this one on the palm of his left hand.

Span was hit by a pitch in the fifth inning of Rochester’s game on Tuesday night. His left thumb and the palm area around it are swollen and a bit sore today, but Span is planning to take batting practice with the team to see if he’ll be activated for Thursday’s series finale with the Brewers. Manager Ron Gardenhire said that he expects Span will be fine.

Jason Kubel is back in the lineup as he’s feeling a little better after battling through some cold and flu-like like symptoms. He’ll be in left field tonight and I’m sure that the heat won’t be a huge help to him. But he seemed confident that he’d be able to weather through it just fine.

Nick Punto said that his ribs are still sore and he is not in the lineup again. He left Tuesday night’s game with cramping in his ribs. Punto, who injured his ribs while diving head-first into first base on Saturday night, is listed as day-to-day.

With no batting cages or weight room currently at Miller Park due to the recent flooding, players have had to be a little more creative with their time. The Twins have a small room in the clubhouse with a batting tee that’s been constantly in use. But there have been a few more card games than usual — anything to pass the time, particularly for a team that usually spends a lot of time in the batting cage.

Here are today’s lineups:

Carlos Gomez, CF
Brendan Harris, SS
Joe Mauer, C
Justin Morneau, 1B
Jason Kubel, LF
Michael Cuddyer, RF
Joe Crede, 3B
Matt Tolbert, 2B
Nick Blackburn, P

Craig Counsell, 2B
Mat Gamel, 3B
Ryan Braun, LF
Prince Fielder, 1B
Corey Hart, RF
Mike Cameron, CF
J.J. Hardy, SS
Jason Kendall, C
Braden Looper, P

SI Cover boy, Joe Mauer and Tuesday Lineups: Twins at Brewers

Thumbnail image for SICover_062909_JoeMauer.jpgBefore I get into today’s baseball news, a little note to Twins fans to check out this week’s Sports Illustrated. Joe Mauer is donning the cover for the second time (he also did so in Aug. 2006). Tom Verducci explores the catcher’s chances of becoming the first player to hit .400 since Ted Williams did in 1941.

As for Twins news today in Milwaukee, manager Ron Gardenhire had to wait a little while to post his lineup today as he was checking up on the health status of a few players. Justin Morneau is back in the lineup after getting a day off on Sunday due to “general soreness.” Nick Punto also returns after missing Sunday’s game with bruised right ribs. Jason Kubel, who left Sunday’s game with flu-like symptoms, is not in the lineup with what the team is calling “general illness.”

The Twins got positive news on Denard Span, who went 1-for-4 in his first rehab game with Triple-A Rochester on Monday night. Gardenhire said that Span didn’t have any recurrences of dizziness, so it sounds like he’ll be activated on Thursday as expected.. (That is of course if everything goes OK in the outfielder’s second rehab game tonight).

The newest member of the Twins bullpen, Bobby Keppel, is also here at Miller Park. He’s expected to be another option for the sixth or seventh inning now that Luis Ayala is no longer there. Speaking of Ayala, Gardenhire let it be known today that the reliever asked for a trade three weeks ago and that helped lead to his departure. More on that later.

Here are today’s lineups:

Carlos Gomez, CF
Brendan Harris, SS
Joe Mauer, C
Justin Morneau, 1B
Michael Cuddyer, RF
Joe Crede, 3B
Delmon Young, LF
Nick Punto, 2B
Francisco Liriano, P

Jason Kendall, C
Casey McGehee, 2B
Ryan Braun, LF
Prince Fielder, 1B
Corey Hart, RF
Mike Cameron, CF
J.J. Hardy, SS
Bill Hall, 3B
Jeff Suppan, P

Adding to the list of sidelined players

Jason Kubel left Sunday’s series finale against the Astros following the third inning due to an illness, the team announced.

had started the game in right field with Michael Cuddyer filling in at
first base for Justin Morneau, who got his first day off in nearly two
years on Sunday. Due to Kubel falling ill, Cuddyer moved back to right
field for the start of the fourth inning and Brian Buscher was inserted
at first base.

In addition to Morneau getting a day off due to
general soreness, Nick Punto was on the bench for Sunday’s contest with
sore right ribs. Punto bruised his ribs while diving head-first into
first base on Saturday night.

Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said
that he didn’t believe the injury would result in a disabled list stint
for Punto, but that the injury will take only a couple days to get
better. The infielder said he was still pretty sore on Sunday but he
hopes the club’s off day on Monday will give the injury enough time to

“You never think about that,” Punto said of suffering
bruised ribs on the play. “The dangers in diving head-first are hands
or shoulders. It’s just frustrating.” 

And your center fielder is….Michael Cuddyer

The Twins outfield setup from the final two innings of Wednesday’s game is back for Thursday’s series finale against the A’s.

Michael Cuddyer is getting his first start of the year in center field. Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said that Justin Morneau felt it would be a good day to DH, as he’s been getting beat up a little. And with left-handers hitting .306 vs. A’s starter Trevor Cahill while right-handers have hit just .227, Gardenhire wanted to stack as many lefties in the lineup as possible. So Jason Kubel will be in right field and Brian Buscher will play first base.

This outfield configuration could stick through this weekend for the three-game series at Wrigley Field. Gardenhire said there was no news on what has been causing Denard Span’s dizzy spells. Span saw team physician Dr. Tom Jetzer on Wednesday and was run through a battery of tests but so far nothing has been found. The outfielder is scheduled to see more doctors today. Gardenhire said it’s difficult to imagine that Span would be ready to rejoin the team on Friday as the skipper wants to find out why Span has been dizzy before returns to the lineup.

Gardenhire also said that a roster move should be coming after today’s game to activate Nick Punto (strained right groin) from the disabled list.

Here are today’s lineups as the Twins go for only their second road series win of the season:

Matt Tolbert, 2B
Brendan Harris, SS
Joe Mauer, C
Justin Morneau, DH
Jason Kubel, RF
Joe Crede, 3B
Michael Cuddyer, CF
Brian Buscher, 1B
Delmon Young, LF
Pitching: Nick Blackburn, RHP

Orlando Cabrera, SS
Adam Kennedy, 2B
Jack Cust, RF
Matt Holliday, LF
Jason Giambi, DH
Landon Powell, C
Daric Barton, 1B
Rajai Davis, CF
Jack Hannahan, 3B
Pitching: Trevor Cahill, RHP

Also a reminder that you can follow me on Twitter @kellythesier for more Twins updates

Back in Action…Thursday Lineups: Twins vs. Tribe

Sorry for the lack of blogging yesterday. It was one of those crazy days on the job where I had a lot of stories to get done and not enough time to add blogging into the mix. So my apologies and I’ll try not to let it happen again when I’m on game coverage.

OK, back to baseball. Jason Kubel gets the start in right field today as Joe Mauer is slotted in as the DH. Kubel’s numbers against Indians starter Fausto Carmona are likely a big reason that he’s in the lineup. Kubel is 8-for-18 (.444) vs. Carmona with two RBIs.

Alexi Casilla also gets a day off as manager Ron Gardenhire wanted to give Matt Tolbert a chance to try out some swing adjustments in a game. Tolbert has been working hard on his swing of late and this seemed the right time to give him a shot to see if those changes will help.

As for Michael Cuddyer, the soreness in his strained right index finger is moving from the knuckle to the palm of his hand. Gardenhire said he’s been told that it’s a good sign that the soreness is moving in that direction. Cuddyer was going to try to swing today and see how that goes.

And here are today’s lineups:

Ben Francisco, RF
Jamey Carroll, 3B
Victor Martinez, C
Shin-Soo Choo, LF
Jhonny Peralta, SS
Mark DeRosa, DH
Chris Gimenez, 1B
Trevor Crowe, CF
Luis Valbuena, 2B
Pitching: Fausto Carmona, RHP

Denard Span, LF
Joe Mauer, DH
Justin Morneau, 1B
Jason Kubel, RF
Joe Crede, 3B
Brendan Harris, SS
Mike Redmond, C
Carlos Gomez, CF
Matt Tolbert, 2B
Pitching: Scott Baker, RHP

Also a reminder that you can follow me on Twitter  @kellythesier

Jason Kubel scratched from lineup

Twins DH Jason Kubel was scratched from the lineup on Friday night against the Brewers due to a swollen left knee.

Kubel said he either tweaked or jammed the knee in the first inning of Thursday’s game in Chicago while chasing down a ball in left field. Then later in the game, he fouled a pitch off, just above his knee.

“It’s pretty swollen right now,” Kubel said. “Hopefully in a couple days it should go down.”

Kubel isn’t a stranger to knee problems. He even joked that the swelling right now is in “the bad one.” That’s because Kubel tore three ligaments in that left knee during a play in the outfielde during the 2004 Arizona Fall League, causing him to miss the entire 2005 season.

This injury doesn’t seem to be anything that Kubel feels is serious. He was able to stay in Thursday’s game until the sixth inning when he was taken out after the Twins were already up 16-0.

Kubel tried to run around a bit in the outfield shagging balls before batting practice on Friday and he wasn’t moving around very well. Then when Kubel was having trouble trying to jog during the team’s warm-ups before BP is when the decision was made to scratch him from the lineup.

“I know what to expect so I’m not too concerned about this [injury],” Kubel said. “I had this a couple years ago.  I had a play here where I slipped on the turf. It got a little swollen after that and then three or four days it was pretty much back to normal.”

Kubel said he’ll keep icing the knee and riding the bike to keep the knee loose. Manager Ron Gardenhire said that Kubel will be emergency only, but Kubel himself felt he could pinch-hit if necessary.   

News and notes from Saturday

All right, now that my trip back from Tampa is complete — and I got some dinner — here are some of the other newsworthy things that happened on Saturday.

  • The Twins will use Monday’s off day as just that — an off day. Left-hander Francisco Liriano will come to the ballpark to throw a bullpen but otherwise there is no planned workout for the team. Manager Ron Gardenhire said that Joe Mauer might come in and catch Liriano’s bullpen, now that he’s advanced to doing that. But the team might also give him a day of rest since he’s been working out every day. The decision on whether Mauer will be the one to catch Liriano will be made by the trainers, Gardenhire said. The off day is one of four that is scheduled for the Twins during this prolonged Spring Training.
  • Any questions about whether the Twins might acquire reliever Juan Cruz were answered Saturday when he signed a two-year, $6 million deal with the Royals. The contract includes a $4 million club option for 2011 with a $500,000 buyout. Although many Twins fans were hopeful that the club would sign Cruz, the two sides just never seemed to find a fit and now the Twins will move forward with Jesse Crain, Luis Ayala, and Jose Mijares as their primary setup options.
  • One of the hottest hitters for the Twins early in spring has been outfielder Delmon Young. After a 3-for-3 performance on Saturday, Young is now batting .857 (6-for-7) this spring. Although some of Young’s hits in previous games weren’t necessary bullets, he showed more power in his three hits agianst the Yankees. And Young isn’t the only one delivering hits. Brian Buscher is now 6-for-8 this spring with 4 RBIs, Jason Kubel is 2-for-4 with a home run and Carlos Gomez even delivered a home run to left field on Saturday… “The guys are swinging good,” manager Ron Gardenhire said after the club’s 7-3 win over the Yankees. “Delmon is whacking the crap out of it; Kubel looks like he’s been hitting all winter long. There have been some really good at-bats and good swings. A lot of guys look like they’ve really got it going, and it’s early. Only six or eight more weeks of spring.”  (The last part was Gardy joking…there are only five weeks left of spring –which is still plenty of time)
  • Quote of Day: Gardenhire on Nick Punto playing for Team Italy “I think he grew up in Little Italy in California. That’s why I thought I had a shot to manage the Canadian team, because I live in Little Canada.”

(And for those of you who didn’t learn why Punto is playing for the Italian team — his grandparents are from Italy)