Kubel close to return to D-backs' outfield

Kubel close to return to D-backs' outfield

CINCINNATI -- One more day.

It seems to be the same news coming out of Arizona each day as Jason Kubel continues his recovery, but this time it seems to be for real.

Kubel left Friday's game against the Cubs early with tightness in his hamstring and has not been in the lineup since, aside from a pinch-hit appearance Saturday in Chicago.

But D-backs manager Kirk Gibson said the club feels their left fielder is nearly back to full strength.

"I talked to [head athletic trainer] Ken [Crenshaw] after the game and we just felt another day," Gibson said. "I think he's getting better. I think we're seeing improvement. I'd love him in the lineup."

Gibson said Kubel plans on running "pretty good" before Tuesday's game in Cincinnati before assessing his health again Wednesday.

"We'll see how he runs," Gibson said. "We went out there yesterday and it was kind of limited. I don't really want him to go out there if he can't run to play the outfield."

Kubel is batting .292 this season and leads the team with 15 home runs and 60 RBIs.