Illness knocks Kubel out of Sunday's game

Illness knocks Kubel out of Sunday's game

MINNEAPOLIS -- Jason Kubel left Sunday's series finale against the Astros after the third inning with flu-like symptoms, manager Ron Gardenhire said following the Twins' 4-1 loss.

Kubel had started the game in right field, with Michael Cuddyer filling in at first base for Justin Morneau, who got his first day off in nearly two years.

With Kubel falling ill, Cuddyer moved to right field for the start of the fourth inning, and Brian Buscher was inserted at first base.

In addition to Morneau, Nick Punto was on the bench on Sunday with bruised right ribs, an injury he sustained while diving headfirst into first base on Saturday night.

Gardenhire doesn't believe that Punto's injury will result in a stint on the disabled list, as the trainers told him it's just a bruise and will likely take a day or two to heal. The infielder was sore on Sunday, but he hopes the club's off-day on Monday will give him enough time to recover.

"You never think about that," Punto said of bruising his ribs on the play. "The dangers in diving headfirst are hands or shoulders. It's just frustrating."

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