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Jason Kubel still has a chance to start in Minnesota

With manager Ron Gardenhire urging Michael Cuddyer to make a slow return from his strained oblique (so as not to re-injure it and make it worse), it's still possible that Jason Kubel will open the year in the starting lineup for the Twins. Kubel has hit .311 with a team-leading 11 RBI this spring, showing no signs of the torn ACL (suffered during the 2004 Arizona Fall League) which caused him to miss all of last season.


That makes the decision of exactly who Gardenhire would start in right between Kubel and Lew Ford an interesting one. Kubel started in right field in the Twins' game on Wednesday while Ford got in his at-bats during one of the Minor League games. Gardenhire talked about a possible platoon between Kubel and Ford, if Cuddyer does have to go on the DL, until one of the players emerges to take the starting nod.

One thing that is for certain -- it won't be Kubel's health that keeps him from earning the spot or starting at the position.

"The knee, it's not even a question anymore," Kubel said.

Kubel is a .323 hitter in the minors and there's no reason that he can't eventually earn a full-time job in Minnesota this year even after Cuddyer returns.

Notes: Kubel has a shot in outfield []