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D-backs’ Jason Kubel: Ankle better, confidence improving

According to manager Kirk Gibson, Jason Kubel hit two home runs and added a couple of other hits in seven at bats against minor league pitching on one of the back fields at Salt River Fields Wednesday morning.

“It was a good day for him,” Gibson said.

The Arizona Diamondbacks’ starting left fielder has not had many good days this spring.

Kubel has struggled at the plate and battled both knee and ankle issues. He was removed from Tuesday night’s game with what the team described as “left ankle discomfort.”

“I felt pretty good,” Kubel said after the intrasquad game. “Just a little sore, maybe a little stiff; but, no, (the ankle) felt fine.”

Gibson said Kubel ran the bases quite a bit and “ran pretty decently,” too.

“He’s good at this point,” Gibson said smiling. “Let’s cross our fingers today. We seem to be a bit bitten right now.” The skipper was referring to Willie Bloomquist (strained right oblique) and Aaron Hill (finger, in the lineup vs. the Giants Wednesday), who were both removed from the game Tuesday as well.

Kubel said he did not play in the field; the plate appearances were priority number-one.

“It definitely helps to get as many at bats as you can,” he said. “I think [Wednesday] is going to help with confidence a little bit.”

Kubel has but six hits in 40 at-bats for a .150 batting average over 17 Cactus League games. In addition, he has one home run and three RBI along with eight walks and 15 strikeouts.

He said he expects to play in the team’s last two exhibition games against the Cincinnati Reds Friday and Saturday at Chase Field.

“I’m just, hopefully, looking forward to getting these next couple of days out of here healthy,” Kubel said. “I’ve just been battling things all spring so hopefully everything just starts feeling good, and stays that way.”