The Twins have no plans to trade Michael Cuddyer this season even if they fall from contention, a team official said Friday, adding that an effort will be made to re-sign Cuddyer this fall.
Cuddyer, 32, will be eligible for free agency this fall after making $10.5 million this season. The Braves, Phillies and Giants are among the teams who've had scouts see Cuddyer in recent weeks, as he's helped the Twins climb back into the race.
He went 0-for-4 Friday but is batting .292 with 13 homers and 43 RBI.
"I have no say or no control over [trades], so I feel like I've done a pretty good job of just being able to focus and go out and play," Cuddyer said. "Especially now that we're getting back into this thing, I'd like to think we're going to go after it.
"When we were 20 games under [.500], and 16 1/2 out [of the division lead], it probably would have been a better question. But being only six games out, that's a deficit in the day and age of the unbalanced schedule that a team can overcome."
Both outfielders Denard Span (concussion) and Jason Kubel (left foot) are scheduled to fly out to Classs AAA Rochester together on Saturday for rehab assignments following a big day in progress for each of them.
Span, who was simply awaiting a technical process by Major League Baseball, was officially approved to start playing. The team will remain in contact with MLB regarding his progress throughout his assignment, and he will need approval again before he can be reactivated.
Kubel did a rigorous defensive workout before the game Friday, putting full pressure on his foot. He said it was the second time he had run on it since the injury, and the first time to that extent.
"I wasn't trying to hold back and it didn't bother me too much," he said. "That was pretty much all the assurance I needed."
Both will start Sunday -- Kubel at DH and Span in center field.
A spoiled gem
Coming off an ugly three-start stretch in which he gave up 19 runs and compiled a 12.15 ERA, Nick Blackburn threw seven masterful innings Friday, giving up four hits and no runs against Kansas City.
The difference, he said, was adding more changeups to his repertoire, and getting his fastball down around the knees.
• Twins trainer Rick McWane said first baseman Justin Morneau was doing "great" in his current program and would be reevaluated Monday. Right now, Morneau is on a six-week timetable for return.
• Scott Baker threw a bullpen session and felt fine, McWane said. The righthander is scheduled to pitch Monday vs. Cleveland.
• Trevor Plouffe started in right field in his first defensive game back. Just before the All-Star break, Rochester manager Tom Nieto had told Ron Gardenhire he would be completely comfortable inserting Plouffe into a big-league outfield. Plouffe has played seven games in the outfield in his professional career, all at Rochester.
• Kevin Slowey threw 87 pitches in 4 2/3 innings in a rehab start for Rochester on Friday. He gave up three runs on six hits in a loss to Buffalo, striking out three.