FORT MYERS, Fla. -- As a nine-year big league veteran, Jason Kubel doesn't put much stock into Spring Training stats.
But Kubel, who is trying to make the club as a non-roster invitee, admitted it was nice to break out of his slump early in spring with a solo homer off Rays left-hander David Price on Tuesday.
Kubel entered the game just 1-for-14 in Grapefruit League play, but feels like his swing is starting to come around.
"It felt good to finally hit one hard," Kubel said. "The results aren't there, but I feel like over the last few games, my last four or five at-bats are feeling pretty good. So if it keeps getting better each day before the season starts, I'll be right where I want to be."
Kubel still has a strong shot to make the club as a designated hitter/outfielder, but he has to prove he can contribute offensively after an injury-plagued season last year in which he hit just .216 with five homers and 32 RBIs in 97 games with the D-backs and Indians.
Twins manager Ron Gardenhire is familiar with Kubel, who played with the Twins from 2004-11, and was pleased to see him snap his recent funk with a homer.
"He can click on a baseball -- we know that," Gardenhire said. "It's just a matter of time. We'll see more at-bats and we'll go from there."
Arcia, Hicks return from injuries
FORT MYERS, Fla. -- Twins outfielder Oswaldo Arcia was back in the starting lineup for the first time since March 4 against the Pirates on Wednesday, while fellow outfielder Aaron Hicks returned with a pinch-hit homer in the fifth inning.
Arcia, who has been dealing with what he believes is food poisoning since Thursday, has been working out at the club's Spring Training complex without any issues the last few days.
He was back in the lineup, starting in right field and batting fifth. He's expected to be the club's starting right fielder this season but has some catching up to do, as he entered Wednesday's game with just 11 plate appearances this spring.
Hicks, meanwhile, has been bothered by a sore right elbow since Thursday, but took swings in the batting cages without any problems on Tuesday and Wednesday. Hicks, who is competing for the starting job in center field along with Alex Presley, hadn't played since March 4, but made an immediate impact with a solo blast off left-hander Adam Wilk in the fifth.
"He took full BP today and felt great so I'd expect him in the lineup tomorrow," Twins assistant general manager Rob Antony said before the game. "Yesterday, we left him back and he hit in the cages but they wanted to get him through everything today. Yesterday felt good with no issues, and today he felt good with no issues, so I think he got clearance to play now."
Diamond still in running for final rotation spot
FORT MYERS, Fla. -- Scott Diamond remains in the mix for the fifth spot in the rotation but knows he has to put together better performances than his last two outings.
In his last two appearances, the left-hander has allowed seven runs (three earned) on eight hits and three walks over four innings. His latest outing came on Tuesday, when he gave up two runs on four hits in two innings against the Rays. He gave up only singles in his outing on Tuesday with the runs scoring on a sacrifice fly and an RBI groundout.
"It's the fastball control right now," Diamond said. "I'm not getting pounded, and that's the frustrating thing. I need to change my approach a little bit. I need to be a little bit more aggressive. I'm still leaving balls up in the zone."
Diamond, who is out of Minor League options, is competing for the final spot in the rotation along with Samuel Deduno, Vance Worley and Kyle Gibson, with Deduno as the slight favorite.
Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said it's still early in camp but that he wants to see more from Diamond, who posted a 3.54 ERA in 27 starts as a rookie in 2012 before posting a 5.43 ERA in 24 starts last season.
"He has to throw it over and make quality pitches and it's still not there yet," Gardenhire said. "It's a work in progress. We'll see how it goes. Like I say, it's up to them and they have to make the most of it."
• Twins prospect Miguel Sano is scheduled to undergo Tommy John surgery on his right elbow on Wednesday afternoon. Sano, who suffered a high-grade partial tear of his ulnar collateral ligament, will have his elbow operated on by Dr. David Altchek in New York. The 20-year-old third baseman is expected to rehab his elbow for eight months.
Sano, ranked as the No. 4 overall prospect by MLB.com, could see action as a designated hitter late in the Minor League season, and could play in the Arizona Fall League or in his native Dominican Republic in the offseason.
• Twins assistant general manager Rob Antony confirmed the Twins had interest in free-agent right-hander Ervin Santana, who signed a one-year deal with the Braves on Wednesday. The Twins, however, weren't interested in a one-year pact, and had exploratory talks with Santana's agent about a three-year deal.
"We did our due diligence and had some interest and talked to his agent," Antony said. "I think what they were looking for was different than what we were thinking. The way we looked at was that we're looking to build something here so we weren't looking for a one-year guy. The Braves are in a different situation than we are."
• Shortstop Pedro Florimon, who had his appendix removed on Feb. 19, took batting practice on the field before Wednesday's game and could return to action in a Minor League game this weekend, Antony said.