2/20/2014 2:30 P.M. ET
Healthy Kubel returns to Twins, ready to make impact
By Barry M. Bloom / MLB.com
FORT MYERS, Fla. -- Jason Kubel returned to the Twins on Thursday as a free agent, non-roster outfielder trying to rejoin the team where he enjoyed his most prolific years.
"It feels great," said Kubel, who was the last of the 64 players to report to camp, two days ahead of Saturday's first full-squad workout. "I missed everybody when I was gone, but still kept in contact. I kept tabs with the team. I'm just happy to be back."
Kubel, who left Minnesota to sign a free-agent contract with the D-backs after the 2011 season, is coming off the worst year of his career statistically during an injury-plagued 2013. He played 97 games for the D-backs and Indians, hitting .216 with five homers and 23 RBIs.
Things had gotten so low for Kubel that the D-backs designated him for assignment in the middle of August and then traded him to Cleveland.
"I'm over all the injuries and stuff," Kubel, 31, said. "I'm just looking forward to starting over again. I started out fine and then got hurt early. It never really healed, and I never really got back after that. It was my left quad. It stayed around all year. So I think that's gone. Actually, I know that it's gone. Hopefully, I'll just stay healthy."
In his second Minnesota iteration, Kubel is eyeing a part-time role in the outfield, some games at designated hitter and pinch-hit appearances. In his seven seasons with the Twins, Kubel was a .271 hitter with 104 homers and 429 RBIs.
Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said he hopes Kubel can return to that form.
"He just got here. He just flew in. Took the red eye, the budget flight, saving all of his money," the veteran skipper said. "We brought him over here for a reason. We needed a bat, we needed some experience, whether it's off the bench or on the field. We need guys who know how to win. This guy can do all those things. We watched him do it. At one point, he was one of the best hitters in this organization.
"He still has a lot left in him. His legs are healthy. He looks great. He's in great shape. We are excited to have him in camp here. Now we'll see what he does on the field. I'm hoping he's a big part of this ballclub."
Recovering Florimon visits Hammond Stadium
FORT MYERS, Fla. -- Twins shortstop Pedro Florimon was back at Hammond Stadium on Thursday after undergoing emergency laparoscopic surgery to remove his appendix only three days ago.
Florimon began feeling pain in his right side and was rushed to the hospital by Twins traveling secretary Mike Herman in the wee hours of Sunday morning. After a CT scan revealed appendicitis, the surgery was performed about 14 hours later.
Florimon looked fit and sounded chipper as he sat in front of his locker. He said he's expected to be sidelined for at least two weeks.
"Now I feel very good," he said. "I was sleeping when I felt the pain. It woke me up. I went to the [hotel] lobby to get some medicine, but when it didn't help, I had to call somebody. [Herman's] number was the only one I had."
Florimon said his energy level is good, but his activities are restricted. He can't bend quickly and certainly is not allowed to lift any weights until his body completely heals.
"He's going to be pretty limited on activities for at least two weeks," Twins assistant general manager Rob Antony said earlier in the week. "And then it'll be a build up process. He'll need all of Spring Training to get ready."
The Twins remain hopeful that Florimon will be ready for Opening Day on March 31 against the White Sox, but it may be too early to really know.
"I'm going to go slowly," Florimon said. "I'm going to ice it two or three times a day and see what happens. It's tough for me right now to even get out of a bed, to go down and get up. We'll see what happens in a couple of weeks. I want to be here and play. It's boring in the hotel. There's nothing to do."
GM Ryan has positive post-surgery checkup
FORT MYERS, Fla. -- Twins general manager Terry Ryan received a positive report from his doctors at the Mayo Clinic in Minnesota on Thursday during his checkup one week after the removal of a cancerous growth in his neck.
According to a Twins spokesman, team physician Dr. Vijay Eyunni said that Ryan "checked out great, is healing nicely and returned home."
Ryan was diagnosed with squamous-cell carcinoma earlier this month after a lump was found in a lymph node in his neck. Squamous-cell carcinoma is commonly a form of skin cancer and can be further targeted by radiation therapy.
That decision, though, has yet to be made by his physicians at Mayo.
At the time of the diagnosis, Ryan said he felt positive about his prognosis and care. He has been advised not to travel to Spring Training, but to rest and relax at home.
"It's my intention to see you back at the ballpark as soon as possible," Ryan said.
Barry M. Bloom is national reporter for MLB.com and writes an MLBlog, Boomskie on Baseball. Follow @boomskie on Twitter. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.