Thu 28 Apr 2011
While his higher profile teammates have been ineffective and injured, Jason Kubel is doing his best to kick start the Twins offense this month. The outfielder/DH was hitting .349/.389/.506 with 2 homers and 10 RBI following the first game of Thursday’s doubleheader.
Kubel has plenty of incentive to keep his hot start going. The soon-to-be 29-year-old (May 25) will be an unrestricted free agent for the first time following this season and there’s a good chance 2011 with be his last year in Minnesota.
The always cooperative Kubel took some time out to talk to me before Wednesday’s game.
DZ: The weather’s been cold, but your bat’s been pretty hot, you’ve been hitting pretty well; any particular reason for that?
KUBEL: (I am) just feeling comfortable and not trying to do too much and not trying to swing too hard. (I am) doing what I’ve done in the past – line drives gap-to-gap and it’s working out so far.
DZ: I heard that you said you’d rather hit .300 and have the power numbers go down a little bit than have an average like you did last year (with power numbers). Is that true?
KUBEL: Yeah, I definitely want to contribute more, somehow. Obviously, the homeruns, RBIs and runs are all big, but in order to get those you have to be able to hit the ball and get on base and drive guys in – that’s where it all starts – so far, so good.
DZ: Is there any difference in approach when you go for average versus power?
KUBEL: I just try to hit the ball hard every time and now I am trying to use the field more – hit more balls to leftfield – down the leftfield line – left-center, hitting both gaps. I haven’t pulled too many balls, but I’ve been pulling some. (I’m) just making it work with whatever they give me.
DZ: Is that more getting used to the stadium or is that your approach in general?
KUBEL: It’s just my approach. I got away from it last year because I thought the stadium was too big. I realized that I had to go back to what I did to get here – that’s hitting it all over the place.
DZ: Did you do anything different this offseason?
KUBEL: No. (I) just worked on having a more compact swing, eliminate some unnecessary movement and stuff and (worked with) the batting stance and everything.
DZ: When you guys lose a tough series like you did at the end of last year, how long does it take you to get back going again?
KUBEL: I usually give it a couple of weeks or so and then get back into it. I don’t think about it too much – it’s over with, get ready for next year and look forward to what can happen this coming year.
DZ: When do finally get going on your workout routine, what is a typical day like?
KUBEL: I am going to be a little luckier this offseason, I am building a cage right now so I can stay at home and hit right there instead of driving – I don’t have too drive far, there are plenty of places to hit, but I’ve got my own weight room and a couple of fields that I can go out and catch some balls in the outfield…I do mostly hitting and lifting and I’ll be able to do that – have better access to it now.
DZ: Your son is about 3 now, do you get him in the cage at all?
KUBEL: He’s going to want to. He’s going to see me down there and he’s going to want to do it. It will be fun and I’ll get him started pretty soon.
DZ: After this season – which is still a long way off, I realize – you’ll be a free agent. Do you ever think about how this could be your last year here?
KUBEL: I do. I just try to enjoy it. If it is my last year then it is, so I’ll have fun doing it and then worry about what happens after it’s over.
DZ: One last thing, tomorrow there’s a double header and you’ve got a little bit of a break between games, what are you going to do to keep busy?
KUBEL: I hope to find a little place to lay down for a little bit (laughs). It’s going to be a long day tomorrow – a long 24 hours starting tonight, so we’ll see how it goes.
See more of David Zingler’s interviews with Twins players:
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