By Joe Christensen
Michael Cuddyer was batting .210 with a .254 on-base percentage and a .306 slugging percentage after the Twins’ nightmarish doubleheader in Boston last week.
But he is slowly getting his swing going now. He went 1-for-2 with two walks and an RBI in the Twins’ 8-3 victory over Tampa Bay on Wednesday.
Granted there were bigger developments for the Twins on this night. Joe Mauer was in the building, getting ready for Friday’s return. Nick Blackburn had another strong start, despite feeling ill. Denard Span, Brendan Harris and Justin Morneau each had three hits apiece.
But this team needs to get Cuddyer going, too. He has drawn seven walks over the past four games, leaving him at .224/.318/.316. Of course, the Twins expect Cuddyer to be a run producer, and with seven RBI and one home run, it wound up being an unproductive April.
At least there were signs of promise at the end, and Cuddyer could be another hitter who benefits from Mauer’s return, especially if Mauer resumes getting on base at his .399 career clip.
“We always watch Cuddy, and when he’s starting to use the middle of the field and go the other way, that means he’s seeing the ball a little deeper in the zone,” Manager Ron Gardenhire said. “That means he’s staying back a little bit better. And that means he’s going to draw some walks, and that’s when he’s swinging the best.
“You can see he starts flying off the ball and starts trying to do a little too much and gets in trouble, but when he starts using the middle part of the field, that’s when he’s really going good, and he’s getting a lot better right now.”