Longest-tenured Twin Cuddyer is an All-Star

  • Article by: SID HARTMAN , Star Tribune
  • Updated: July 4, 2011 - 9:18 PM

The versatile fielder has played several different positions to help the team, so he'll bring all his gloves to the All-Star Game in Arizona.

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Twins outfielder Michael Cuddyer was named to his first All-Star team on Sunday.

Photo: Renee Jones Schneider, Star Tribune file

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On Sunday, Twins outfielder Michael Cuddyer was celebrating being named to the American League All-Star team.

He has been with the Twins longer than any other current player, part or all of 11 seasons, but when Cuddyer looked back to his first day in a Twins uniform, he didn't dream of such success. He was a September call-up in 2001, after hitting .301 with 30 home runs for Class AA New Britain.

"I was coming off of a 24-hour drive, because it was right after 9/11," Cuddyer recalled. "And I had to drive from New Britain, Conn., to here, to play. So it was a 24-hour drive for me. I was a little bit groggy, but I got a hit in my second at-bat. So that was fun."

Cuddyer related how it felt to be selected as a major league All-Star for the first time.

"Words can't describe it, I'm on Cloud Nine right now," he said. "[Manager Ron Gardenhire] called me into his office a couple of minutes before the selection show came on. It was awesome.

"I'm going to take all my gloves. I don't know where [Texas manager] Ron Washington plans to play me, but I'm definitely going to take all my gloves. Wherever he needs me, I'm going to go out there and play."

Cuddyer talked about his 14 years in the Twins organization.

"It's been incredible, you know?" he said. "Six playoffs, six division championships, the way we've come back some seasons and the way we've won the championships from the get-go. Being on the team that was able to get us back on the winning ways was a lot of fun."

He will be a free agent after this year. He hopes to remain a Twin, although there haven't been any contract negotiations yet.

"I don't think we're going to do that during the season," Cuddyer said. "I think that's something we'll explore when the season's over, hopefully.

"We'll see. I can't tell the future, I don't know, but I hope to stay here. This is my 14th year in the organization, and bits and pieces of 11 years up here in the big leagues. So it would be tough [if I left]."

Eull promoted

Liz Eull, who has been a Gophers senior associate athletics director as well as athletic department chief financial officer since 2003, will move to the office of new President Eric Kaler, supervising the athletic department as well as other duties.

A University of Minnesota interoffice memo reported the news of Eull's promotion Friday.

Eull moved from the president's office to become the financial chief after there had been a report that the athletic department would be millions of dollars in debt in the next few years. She played a big part in turning the program around, and the athletic department has been in the black ever since she took over.

In her new position, she will work with athletic director Joel Maturi. Eull and Maturi have had a great relationship over the years, and there is no reason why it should not continue.

Maturi also will report to Kaler, at least until his contract expires next June.

Kathy Brown -- who had been a top assistant to former president Robert Bruininks and involved in the athletic department, including the appointment of coaches -- will now be vice president of human resources for the university.

Local lawyers help NFLPA

One might wonder why so many of the NFL's legal situations such as the present lockout wind up not only being heard before local judges but represented by local lawyers.

Many NFL trials have been heard locally by Judge David Doty. And presiding over the NFL lockout hearings has been U.S. Magistrate Judge Arthur Boylan, including one for 16 hours here one day last week.

The reason for the local NFL connection is that Leonard Lindquist, who help found the law firm of Lindquist and Vennum, was instrumental in helping form the first NFL Players Association in 1969. Lindquist died in 2004 at age 92, but lawyers from his firm continue to represent the NFLPA.

Jottings

Twins third baseman Danny Valencia is hitting only .229 but still leads the team with 42 RBI. He drove in two big runs in the Twins' four-run seventh inning Sunday. Valencia is also second to Cuddyer (132) in total bases with 112.

Even though Joe Mauer has missed most of the season, he was third in the All-Star Game voting for AL catcher with 2,308,436, behind leaders Alex Avila of Detroit (4,144,384) and the Yankees' Russell Martin (3,646,033).

On Friday night in Suite 14 at Target Field, a big homecoming party was thrown by John Pohlad, a cousin of Twins owners Jim, Bill and Bob Pohlad, for former Gopher Kris Humphries, now with the New Jersey Nets, and his fiancé, Kim Kardashian. The suite was loaded with celebrities from all over.

Wadena politicians give the Twins Community Fund a lot of credit for furnishing the money necessary to rebuild their ballpark after it was damaged by a tornado in June 2010.

Former Gopher Dusty Rychart is back in the Twin Cities but will be returning to Australia this month as he prepares for another season of international basketball. Rychart played 34 games with the Skytrans Cairns Taipans last season, averaging 8.3 points and 6.0 rebounds in 21.6 minutes per game.

Cory Joseph, the brother of former Gopher Devoe Joseph, will seemingly be the backup point guard to Tony Parker on the Spurs, now that the Spurs have traded former backup George Hill to the Indiana Pacers. Joseph, who left Texas after completing only one season there, was considered by many to be a second-round draft pick at best, but the Spurs selected him 29th overall.

Former Timberwolves general manager and head coach Kevin McHale has hired Chris Finch as an assistant coach for the Houston Rockets. Finch was the head coach for the Rio Grand Valley Vipers in the NBA Development League, leading the team to the championship this past season.

Sid Hartman can be heard weekdays on WCCO AM-830 at 6:40, 7:40 and 8:40 a.m. and on Sundays at 9:30 a.m. • shartman@startribune.com

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