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Spring Training a family affair for Kubel, Tonkin

FORT MYERS, Fla. -- It was a family affair when Twins reliever Michael Tonkin toed the rubber against Jason Kubel in live batting practice on Sunday.

Tonkin, 24, is the brother-in-law of Kubel, who is seven years older than him and married to Tonkin's sister. So Tonkin, who is competing to make the club as a reliever, said it was fun facing Kubel for the first time with his full arsenal of pitches.

"It was the first time I've really thrown to him," Tonkin said. "I threw to him live in high school like once. And this offseason I kind of lobbed some balls for him in the cage, but that's it. So this was the first time I've really gone on a mound and I've thrown more than 50-60 percent in a long time."

Tonkin, who is one of the club's most promising relief prospects and posted a 0.79 ERA in 11 1/3 innings with the Twins last year, said that Kubel swung at two of his pitches with mixed results.

"The second pitch to him, he swung through it, and the other one he hit a fly ball to left field pretty deep that was kind of a high fly ball," Tonkin said. "It was pretty close to the warning track."

But Tonkin joked that the deep fly ball would've been an out in a game situation, even though Kubel hit it well.

"I think it would've been caught," Tonkin said with a smile. "That's what I'm saying."

Rhett Bollinger is a reporter for Read his blog, Bollinger Beat, and follow him on Twitter @RhettBollinger.
Read More: Minnesota Twins, Jason Kubel, Michael Tonkin