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Cuddyer in lineup for pivotal game

Cuddyer in lineup for pivotal game

CHICAGO -- Michael Cuddyer has started just three games for the Twins since returning from a broken left foot in mid-September.

But when the Twins take the field on Tuesday night for the biggest game in recent club history -- their one-game tiebreaker with the White Sox to decide the American League Central champion -- it will be Cuddyer hitting in the designated hitter spot.

Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said that he made the decision after looking at Cuddyer's career numbers against White Sox left-hander John Danks. Cuddyer is 7-for-12 (.583) with three RBIs vs. Danks. The Twins' primary DH, Jason Kubel, is 3-for-7 (.429) off the southpaw. Kubel is also a left-handed hitter while Cuddyer bats right-handed.

"You don't find too many 7-for-12's off anybody," Gardenhire said. "Cuddy is champing at the bit. He's been in these situations. So you know what? We'll run him out there and see what he can do ... I think that's a pretty good number to try to walk away from, against a lefty especially."

Cuddyer's last at-bat came on Sunday against the Royals. As a pinch-hitter in the seventh inning, Cuddyer drew a walk and Gardenhire said that he was pleased with what he saw from him.

"He had a good at-bat," Gardenhire said. "He's on the ball. We'll see how he does."

After missing nearly the entire second half due to a finger injury and then the broken foot, Cuddyer kept up hope that he might be able to have an impact on the Twins' division hopes. Now, he'll definitely get that chance.

"This is the kind of game you want to be in," Cuddyer said. "If you are scared or don't want to be in this game, then you better check into another profession because this is what it's all about. This is a Game 7 -- win or go home. So it's fun to be able to be in the lineup for it."

Kelly Thesier is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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