So it only seemed right that to complete his first career cycle Friday night, Cuddyer was given another test of that hustle. This time, the outfielder had to leg out a triple on a broken-bat grounder down the left-field line in order to accomplish the feat.
Cuddyer became the second Twins player to hit for the cycle this season and the 10th player in team history to accomplish the feat with his 4-for-5 performance in Friday night's 11-3 win over the Brewers at the Metrodome.
It took Cuddyer just four plate appearances to tally the cycle, as he hit a home run in the first inning, delivered a ground-rule double in the third, ripped an RBI single in the fourth and then hit his broken-bat triple in the sixth. His lone out came in the eighth inning on a groundout.
For Cuddyer, Friday night's performance meant a little more, considering what he's battled through in recent seasons.
Cuddyer spent most of last season on the disabled list, playing in just 71 games due to injuries to both index fingers and a broken bone in his foot. He also played through a thumb injury in the second half of 2007 that hampered his hitting.
Cuddyer came to Spring Training eager to get a new season started, and after batting just .224 in April, he's seen things turn around this month. He's hitting .354 in 21 games in May. Six of his seven homers have come during that time, and he's been able to play a crucial role for the offense, delivering 23 RBIs so far this month.
Cuddyer joined Jason Kubel as the second Twin to hit for the cycle this season. Kubel delivered his cycle against the Angels on April 17 at the Metrodome. The last team to have two players hit for the cycle in the same season was the 2003 Montreal Expos, when Vladimir Guerrero and Brad Wilkerson each accomplished the feat.
It's also the third cycle the Twins have recorded in the past two seasons. Carlos Gomez hit for the cycle in a contest against the White Sox at U.S. Cellular Field on May 7, 2008. Prior to Gomez's cycle, it had been nearly 22 years since a Twins player had hit for the cycle. Kirby Puckett hit for the cycle at the Metrodome on Aug. 1, 1986, against Oakland.
Cuddyer began his cycle with a bang, belting a three-run homer to left-center field in the first inning off Brewers starter Manny Parra. It marked his third straight game with a home run, the first time he's done that in his career.
Cuddyer then led off the third inning with a ground-rule double to left-center field off Parra. In the fourth, Cuddyer added an RBI single to center field to cap off a four-run inning for Minnesota.
That single left Cuddyer just a triple short of the cycle. And in the sixth inning, he delivered that triple. As the barrel of his bat flew down the left-field line along with the ball, Cuddyer hustled to third base in time to beat the throw from Braun.
While cycles are always special, the Twins wanted to make this one a little more fun. That's why they surprised the outfielder by having him walk into an empty clubhouse after his big day. Hiding in a back room, they all jumped out at Cuddyer when given the word that he was there.