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Twins' Kubel scratched from opener

Twins' Kubel scratched from opener

MINNEAPOLIS -- Twins designated hitter Jason Kubel was scratched from the lineup Friday night against the Brewers due to a swollen left knee.

Kubel said he either tweaked or jammed the knee in the first inning of Thursday's 20-1 victory over the White Sox in Chicago. He was chasing down a ball in the left-field gap, as was center fielder Denard Span, and Kubel suffered the injury when the two tried to avoid a collision. Later in the game, Kubel fouled a pitch off his left leg, just above his knee.

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"It's pretty swollen right now," Kubel said. "Hopefully in a couple days it should go down."

Kubel, who had originally been slotted in the cleanup spot, tried to run around in the outfield shagging balls before batting practice Friday. Manager Ron Gardenhire, however, said that Kubel wasn't moving around very well. Kubel then had trouble trying to jog during the team's warmups, and the decision was made to scratch Kubel from the lineup.

"I know what to expect, so I'm not too concerned about this," Kubel said. "I had this a couple years ago. I had a play here where I slipped on the turf. It got a little swollen after that, and then three or four days later it was pretty much back to normal."

Kubel isn't a stranger to knee problems, as he's undergone procedures on both of his knees over the past few years. He even joked that the swelling is in "the bad one." Kubel called the knee that because he tore three ligaments in his left knee while playing the outfield in the Arizona Fall League in 2004, causing him to miss the entire '05 season.

This new injury doesn't seem to be anything Kubel or Gardenhire feel is too serious. Kubel, who is batting .336 with five home runs and 23 RBIs this season, was scheduled to be examined by team doctors before the start of Friday's game.

Kubel said before the game that he'll keep icing the knee and riding the bike to keep it loose. Gardenhire said that Kubel was emergency-only for the contest, but Kubel felt he could pinch-hit if necessary.

Kubel's injury leaves the Twins with only two healthy players on their bench -- catcher Mike Redmond and infielder Brian Buscher.

Minnesota was already short a player before Kubel's injury, as outfielder Delmon Young has been away from the team for a week to tend to his mother, Bonnie, who passed away Monday night. Young was reinstated from the family medical emergency list Thursday, but he will not return to the ballclub until Sunday following his mother's funeral Saturday.

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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