Posted at 8:05 PM on May 26, 2009
by David Zingler
With Mauer Mania in full force this May, you may not have noticed Michael Cuddyer's long awaited resurgence. After an injury marred 2008 campaign and a slow start in '09, Cuddyer looks to have regained the form that earned him a lucrative contract extension prior to last season.
I caught up with the longest tenured Twin before tonight's game:
DZ: Right now you're in a groove, batting 4th like in '06 - what's that been like?
CUDDYER: It's fun. Obviously when you're having success it's going to be fun. You just want to go out there and help the team no matter where you are in the line-up or how you are swinging it.
DZ: How long has it been since you felt this good at the plate?
CUDDYER: There have always been periods of time during the season where you feel good, this is just one of those times. Hopefully I'll keep it rolling and keep feeling good.
DZ: How much different is it when you're swinging the bat well versus when things aren't going so well? Is it a confidence thing?
CUDDYER: It's confidence - you are sticking to your game plan more. When you are struggling, you are trying to find anything that works. Obviously when things are going well, you are not even thinking about it. There are a lot of things involved, it's just being able to ride that wave as long as you can.
DZ: Your son Casey; how is he doing?
CUDDYER: He's doing great. He's getting big, he's almost a year old. He is doing well.
DZ: How has that changed your life - being a father?
CUDDYER: It puts things into perspective. You don't - baseball is obviously still important, but it's not the most important thing. Your family is definitely the most important thing. Having him be a part of that definitely puts things into perspective.
DZ: One thing about your game that's always there is your arm - not just strength, but accuracy - do you do any special drills for (accuracy)?
CUDDYER: No, I just keep throwing. I just keep playing catch all of the time, practicing. That's the main thing - practicing, trying to hone your game.
DZ: Is (your arm) just a natural thing.
CUDDYER: I always played catch when I was a little kid. Not too many kids do that nowadays. Nobody just goes out and throws in the front yard with their mom and dad. I was one that always did that - played catch pretty much every night. I think my arm strength is a result of that.
DZ: You turned 30 earlier this year. In the real world you're a young man. On this team, you're the grizzled veteran. What's it been like seeing guys like Mauer and Morneau mature and progress and become the players they have become?
CUDDYER: It's been great. They are not only maturing as players, but they are maturing as people as well. When you see guys come into their own the way they have, it's been awesome.
DZ: Have you ever sat back and thought about how many different teammates you've had in a Twins uniform?
CUDDYER: There's been a lot. I am the only one left from that 2002 playoff team - there's been quite a few. I have never sat down and really reflected on it. I made a lot of great friends in this game.
(Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)
See more of David Zingler's interviews with Twins players:
May 15: Matt Guerrier
May 13: Kevin Slowey
April 30: Brendan Harris
April 28: Jason Kubel
April 18: Justin Morneau
April 15: R.A. Dickey
April 14: Denard Span
April 8: Philip Humber
April 7: Joe Crede