Kubel will stay in Florida for now

The Twins learned that Jason Kubel's return has been held up.

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Jason Kubel

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Twins outfielder Jason Kubel will remain in Fort Myers, Fla., indefinitely as he rebounds from a setback during his return from a sprained left foot.

Kubel, who hasn't played for the Twins since May 30, felt pain in the foot on Thursday as he turned to chase a batted ball while playing for Class A Fort Myers. It occurred in the third inning of a game against Port St. Lucie.

He felt better on Friday but the Twins are going to wait until Sunday, at the earliest, to let him play again, and then only as a designated hitter.

The original plan was for Kubel to play in both games of the doubleheader on Thursday then join Class AA New Britain for the weekend. Hours after he aggravated his injury, Kubel expressed hope that he could head to Class AAA Rochester early next week, but that is on hold.

"Am I upset?" Kubel said on Thursday. "I kind of knew it wasn't going to go smoothly."

Kubel now will spend the weekend in Florida. New Britain is out of the picture because the Rock Cats hit the road. But Rochester returns home to play Pawtucket early next week, providing a place for Kubel to step up in class while continuing his recovery.

But he can't return to the Twins as a DH. He must play in the outfield. He's prepared to play with some pain, but it has to be something he can tolerate.

"Until he's comfortable and DH-ing down in Florida, he will stay down there," Twins trainer Rick McWane said Friday. "We won't send him to Rochester until he's ready to play."

Kubel is batting .310 with five homers and 30 RBI in 52 games. He was the Twins' most consistent offensive player when he was hurt, which is reflected some in the team stats.

Kubel missed all of June. While the Twins went 17-9 that month they scored 100 runs, compared to 105 in May, and the team batting average in June was .249, down from .266 in April and .283 in May.

The Twins need Kubel's bat. If he can return and play right field, then Michael Cuddyer could replace Luke Hughes at first base, strengthening the offense.

But Kubel's return is now up in the air.

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