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Jason Kubel Already in Midseason Form for Minnesota Twins

BRADENTON, FL - MARCH 02:  Designated hitter Jason Kubel #16 of the Minnesota Twins fouls off a pitch against the Pittsburgh Pirates during a Grapefruit League Spring Training Game at McKechnie Field on March 2, 2011 in Bradenton, Florida.  (Photo by J. Meric/Getty Images)
J. Meric/Getty Images
Matt BuschCorrespondent IIIMarch 5, 2011

With Micheal Cuddyer, Joe Mauer and Justin Morneau yet to see any spring training games, Jason Kubel has been getting his cuts in the three-hole so far this spring.

Kubel is making those spring at-bats count, hitting .545 with a home run, four RBI and a 1.636 OPS after a week of games.

"Right now, I'm just happy with the way things are going so far this spring, just with the way I've started off, the way I'm swinging, the way I feel," Kubel said.

Kubel may be in a make-or-break year with the Twins. The Twins have Aaron Hicks, Ben Revere and Joe Benson marinating in the minors who all are outfielders, and Kubel came back to earth last season after having a career season in 2009. 

If Kubel can return to his 2009 form where he hit .300 with 28 home runs and 103 RBI, he can be an X-factor in the Twins' potential run to a third straight AL Central Title.

Kubel's 2010 season was disappointing by his standards, with his numbers across the board all comparing poorly to his 2009 season. His batting average dropped 51 points to .249 and his RBI and home run numbers were both down.

Add his decreasing in season numbers, and his almost historically terrible (2-for-29 for a .069 batting average with 13 strikeouts) performances in the post season, led to many people beginning to wonder what Kubel's future with the Twins might be.

Jason Kubel's 2011 option was picked up by the Twins this season, but if they don't come to agreement on a contract extension, the 28-year-old Kubel will be an unrestricted free agent after this season.

Kubel has made it known that he wants to continue to play the outfield, and believes he is too young to be a full-time DH. This seems unlikely if he wants to remain a Twin beyond 2011 with the talented defensive outfielders in waiting.

"It does make it a little hard," Kubel said. "We've got a couple replacements for Cuddy, myself and Delmon. There are plenty of options."

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