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Kubel hitting familiar stride in return to Twins

Special to MLB.com

MINNEAPOLIS -- Jason Kubel saw mixed results in his two years away from the Twins.

In 2012 for the Diamondbacks, Kubel mashed a career-high 30 homers with 92 RBIs. But during an injury-riddled 2013, he hit just .216 with five home runs in 97 games before being traded to Cleveland that August. Things didn't fare much better there during his short stint with the Tribe.

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MINNEAPOLIS -- Jason Kubel saw mixed results in his two years away from the Twins.

In 2012 for the Diamondbacks, Kubel mashed a career-high 30 homers with 92 RBIs. But during an injury-riddled 2013, he hit just .216 with five home runs in 97 games before being traded to Cleveland that August. Things didn't fare much better there during his short stint with the Tribe.

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Kubel's decision to reunite with the Twins on a Minor League deal last December allowed him to return to a comfortable setting. After all, he had enjoyed three 20-homer seasons with Minnesota in parts of seven seasons from 2004-11.

Things may not have looked promising after Kubel hit just .196 during Spring Training. However, he's turned it on once the regular season kicked in. Despite going 0-for-2 in the Twins' 4-3 win over the Royals on Sunday, he's batting .385 with a homer and seven RBIs.

"He's happy. I've always said he can hit," manager Ron Gardenhire said. "You put him in the right circumstances, right situation. He's off to a good start. "He's playing good in the outfield. "I don't think that gets enough credit. He was one of our best hitters coming up through our system. I think he's comfortable. I think he likes it here. And I think it bodes well for him."

Kubel echoed the skipper's sentiment, stating there's certainly something about being in familiar surroundings.

"It just feels good," Kubel said. "It feels like I fit right in when I got here. All of the fans make me feel welcome."

Kerry Walls is a contributor to MLB.com.

Minnesota Twins, Jason Kubel