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Cuddyer calls Twins HOF 'pinnacle' of career

First-round pick in '97 by Minnesota 29th member of club
MLB.com

MINNEAPOLIS -- Saturday was a special day for former Twins star Michael Cuddyer, even if it was not one he sought when he was playing.

During his 11 seasons with Minnesota, Cuddyer etched his own legacy by just playing the game as if his days were numbered. He played every position except shortstop and catcher, while contributing to six American League Central title between 2001-11.

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MINNEAPOLIS -- Saturday was a special day for former Twins star Michael Cuddyer, even if it was not one he sought when he was playing.

During his 11 seasons with Minnesota, Cuddyer etched his own legacy by just playing the game as if his days were numbered. He played every position except shortstop and catcher, while contributing to six American League Central title between 2001-11.

View Full Game Coverage

Before the Twins played the D-backs at Target Field, he became the 29th member enshrined in the Twins Hall of Fame. The club will induct former general manager Andy MacPhail on Sunday.

Video: ARI@MIN: Cuddyer throws first pitch to Gardenhire

"Today is the pinnacle of all of it," Cuddyer said. "You don't play to get into a Hall of Fame, you don't play to get all those accolades. When it's all said and done, and you realize you were appreciated, it means a lot. Today is very special."

Cuddyer, who serves a special assistant for the team, was drafted by Minnesota with the No. 9 overall pick in the 1997 MLB Draft. He played 11 of his 15 seasons with the Twins, including an All-Star appearance in 2011. He is one of 23 players in club history to play double-digit seasons and he hit .338 in 22 postseason games.

Cuddyer remains in the Top 10 on the all-time home run list in franchise history. Cuddyer's 141 homers are the 10th-most by a Twin, tied with current second baseman Brian Dozier. Cuddyer clubbed a career-best 32 in 2009.

But it was the playoff teams that he was a part of that Cuddyer vividly recalls.

"You think you are going to do it every year; we certainly had the talented to do that," Cuddyer said. "We had a lot of quality teams a lot of quality people. That's what I'm going to remember most, if the relationships I was able to form."

Cuddyer was in attendance for Minnesota's 10-3 rout over Arizona on Friday and watched Byron Buxton fall a single shy of the cycle. A feat Cuddyer was rooting for, as he was the most recent Twins player to accomplish the cycle May 22, 2009.

Video: Must C Clips: Buxton legs out inside-the-park homer

In fact, Cuddyer is one of three Major Leaguers to record a cycle in both the American League and the National League. He understands the difficulty of the feat better than anyone, and how special it would have been for Buxton to reach it.

"I definitely was [rooting for him]," Cuddyer said. "Watching him play the game, he's one of the more electrifying players I have ever seen."

Worth noting

Minnesota manager Paul Molitor announced the tentative pitching plans for Monday's doubleheader in Chicago against the White Sox. Right-hander Dillon Gee, who has been the Twins' long reliever, is expected to start , while righty Tim Melville is expected to be called up from Triple-A Rochester to start the other game.

Gee has a 3.16 ERA in eight appearances this season, including one start. Meanwhile, Melville would be making his first Major League appearance this season. Melville made his Major League debut last season with the Reds, making two starts.

Shane Jackson is a reporter for MLB.com based in Minneapolis.

Minnesota Twins