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09/05/08 8:14 PM ET

Cuddyer hopes to return to Twins

Outfielder has not seen Major League action since June 27

MINNEAPOLIS -- Michael Cuddyer seemed very excited to be back with his teammates in the Twins' clubhouse on Friday afternoon after they returned from their 14-game road trip.

But the outfielder, who remained in the Twin Cities rehabbing a broken left foot, is still hoping that he can do more than just hang around his teammates this season.

"I'm optimistic I'll be able to play," Cuddyer said. "I don't know what is in store and I don't know what the plans are [for me]. But I'm optimistic that I'll be available."

On Friday, Cuddyer hit off a tee and played catch for the first time since injuring his foot. He is still unable to run and Cuddyer said that he physically can't push off on the foot, but he expects to resume running in about 7-10 days.

"It's healing," he said.

Although Cuddyer had been doing rehab on an underwater treadmill while the Twins were on their long road trip, he said it's only within the last week that he noticed progress.

"If you had asked me a week ago I would say I was pretty [upset]," Cuddyer said when asked if he was pleased with how his rehab was going. "Over this past week, it's gotten better. I have a little bit of a better attitude now. I'm back to smiling again."

Getting back around his teammates on Friday helped that smile to increase just a little bit.

"It's always tough when you have to watch them on TV and can't be with them," Cuddyer said.

Cuddyer said that he expects to take batting practice with the team on Saturday and then he'll progress with the running part of his rehab when it feels OK to do so.

Twins manager Ron Gardenhire has said recently that he's unsure of just what Cuddyer's role would be if the outfielder does return before the end of the regular season. Cuddyer has not played in a Major League game since June 27. That's when he was first sidelined with a strained tendon in his left index finger and it was during his Minor League rehab assignment that he suffered the fracture in his left foot while playing for Triple-A Rochester.

With the Minor League season over for most of the Twins' affiliates, there is nowhere for Cuddyer to go to get swings. Gardenhire is a bit weary of how ready Cuddyer might be upon his return.

But Cuddyer said that, right now, he's not too concerned about what role he might fill when he returns.

"I just want to be healthy," he said.

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