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Kubel returns to Twins on Minor League deal

Kubel returns to Twins on Minor League deal

Kubel returns to Twins on Minor League deal play video for Kubel returns to Twins on Minor League deal

MINNEAPOLIS -- Jason Kubel is back with the Twins.

The Twins signed the outfielder to a Minor League deal with an invite to Major League Spring Training, the club announced Friday.

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It's a homecoming for Kubel, who played seven seasons with the Twins before leaving as a free agent prior to the '12 campaign.

Kubel, 31, struggled last year, hitting just .216/.293/.317 with five homers, nine doubles and 32 RBIs in 97 games with the D-backs and Indians. He played 89 of those games with Arizona before being traded to Cleveland on Aug. 29.

It was a falloff from his impressive season the year before when he hit .253/.327/.506 with 30 homers, 30 doubles and 90 RBIs in 140 games in his first season with the D-backs after signing a two-year, $16 million deal.

The Twins are hoping for a bounce back from Kubel, who was a .271/.335/.459 hitter with 104 homers, 142 doubles and 429 RBIs in 753 games with Minnesota. But he fared much better at the Metrodome, hitting .294/.346/.495 in 258 games there compared to .254/.321/.403 in 111 games at Target Field.

Kubel, who was originally selected by the Twins in the 12th round of the 2000 First-Year Player Draft, is expected to compete for a spot as a corner outfielder and designated hitter this spring.

Rhett Bollinger is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Bollinger Beat, and follow him on Twitter @RhettBollinger. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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