Kubel has hot bat in second half
Usual Twins designated hitter gives Mariners nightmares
MINNEAPOLIS -- After Sunday's game against Minnesota, Seattle manager Jim Riggleman was told he wouldn't have to see Jason Kubel until the Twins traveled to Safeco Field for a three-game series in late August.Riggleman replied, "Oh, I'll see him before then." He was evidently referring to his nightmares. "It's not every day that I get talked about like that by the other team, so that was pretty cool," Kubel said. Kubel has smacked the Mariners around this year, batting .684 (13-for-19) with three homers, three doubles, eight runs and nine RBIs. He is coming off a three-game weekend series against Seattle that he called the best of his career, batting .800 (8-for-10) with a home run, two doubles, five runs and six RBIs. Kubel called the prosperity against Seattle "a coincidence." Twins manager Ron Gardenhire was asked if the success was a result of recent adjustments or if it was caused by Seattle pitching. "You guys are going to write that he hit .800 against Seattle, so we'll just say it's against Seattle," Gardenhire said. "I saw him use the field yesterday against a left-hander. He shot balls the other way; he stayed on the ball. ... When he's going good, just like our other hitters, they use the whole field." Kubel hit .262 with 13 homers and 44 RBIs in 271 at-bats in the first half. Since the All-Star break, he is batting .333 (27-for-81) with four homers and 20 RBIs. "I am seeing the ball better," Kubel said. "I have a lot more confidence now. Hopefully it will last." Kubel predominantly has been the club's designated hitter this year, but he has started the last two games in right field. Gardenhire, however, said he didn't want to wear Kubel out by playing him in the field. For his part, Kubel said he didn't care which position he played but would like to play every day. To become an everyday player, he will have to start against left-handed pitching. Gardenhire has seemed more open to doing so. The skipper started Kubel on Sunday against Mariners lefty Ryan Feierabend, and Kubel responded by going 4-for-5 with two doubles, four runs and two RBIs.
Thor Nystrom is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.