Friday, July 22, 2011

Outfield shuffle set to begin with Kubel's return

Jason Kubel is set to rejoin the Twins on Friday night at Target Field in the middle of an important series with the Detroit Tigers. Kubel has been absent from the Twins since injuring his left foot in a game at Detroit on May 30th. He was the team's best hitter for the first two months of the season and he looked like he could have been on the way to an All-Star appearance.

On his way back from injury, Kubel has been rehabbing with the Rochester Red Wings and the Fort Myers Miracle. Kubel's recovery featured one set back at the beginning of the month and the team was forced to pull back the reigns on his rehab. Some extra rest since that time has helped Kubel to be ready for a return to the Twins.
Stat Summary (w/ Rochester)
G: 5
BA: .333
DBL: 1
HR: 1
OPS: .984

His return to the Twins means there will be some shifting among the players that have been getting consistent playing time in recent games. Kubel will get playing time in the outfield and in the designated hitter role. Resulting in the Twins will have four outfielders for three spots (Michael Cuddyer, Delmon Young, Ben Revere, and Kubel). This mean Ron Gardenhire will have an overflowing outfield of players that deserve playing time.

The Twins are lucky enough to have players in this group that can play multiple positions. Cuddyer will likely get some time at 1B with Justin Morneau still out of the line-up. Kubel and Jim Thome can spend time at DH and Gardenhire has emphasized that Thome needs days off to stay healthy. The line-up cards that are handed in before each game will depend on the pitcher on the mound and the track record of the players for the Twins.

Another kink in the outfield shuffle is the looming return of Denard Span in the next week and a half. He has also been down in Rochester rehabbing with Kubel. The return of Span will mean the Twins have even more of a logjam in the outfield. With this many quality players to fit into a line-up on a given day, Gardenhire is in a better position than the AAA line-ups he was creating in the first half of the year.

No comments: