12/13/2013 1:06 P.M. ET
Kubel returns to Twins on Minor League deal
Outfielder played seven seasons in Minnesota before leaving as free agent in '12
By Rhett Bollinger / MLB.com
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.
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.