Michael Brent Cuddyer (Template:Pron-en) (born March 27, 1979 in Norfolk, Virginia) is a Major League Baseball right fielder for the Minnesota Twins. He bats and throws right-handed and wears number 5.
Cuddyer is a 1997 graduate of Great Bridge High School in Chesapeake, Virginia, where he was a standout athlete in baseball, basketball, and football. Cuddyer was named Virginia's Player of the Year and Gatorade National baseball Player of the Year in 1997. He was also a member of USA Today's All-Star and the USA Junior National teams in 1997. He did not attend college.
Cuddyer was drafted by the Minnesota Twins in the 1st round (9th pick) of the 1997 amateur draft, and made his Major League Baseball debut on September 23, 2001 for the Twins. Prior to 2004, Cuddyer saw little playing time except as an occasional fill-in in the outfield. During 2004, Cuddyer made the transition to the infield, playing second and third bases. After the departure of veteran Twins third baseman Corey Koskie to the Toronto Blue Jays by way of free agency in 2005, Cuddyer became the Twins' starting third baseman. He struggled at third base and was relegated to a reserve role for much of 2005.
Cuddyer underwent surgery to repair a tear in his right lateral meniscus in October 2005. The Twins then extended his contract on January 21, 2006, giving him a one-year deal worth $1.3 million. After beginning the 2006 season on the bench, Cuddyer emerged as a regular in right field and in the cleanup spot of the Twins batting order. He is known for his home run power. Only Justin Morneau had more RBI for the Twins in 2006. In right field, he has excellent throwing power and accuracy.
Prior to the 2008 season, Cuddyer re-signed with the Twins for three-years, at $24 million with a $10.5 million club option for 2011.
On April 4, 2008, Cuddyer suffered a dislocated right index finger after sliding headfirst into third base. He also suffered a laceration on the knuckle after getting stepped on by Kansas City Royals third baseman Alex Gordon. He was put on 15-day disabled list and was later activated on April 25 against the Texas Rangers. On his second game after being activated, Cuddyer hit a three-run home run off Rangers' Scott Feldman, his first of the 2008 season. On May 22, 2009 Cuddyer hit for the cycle in a game against the Milwaukee Brewers.
On August 23, 2009, Cuddyer hit two home runs in the same inning, the seventh inning of the Twins' game against the Kansas City Royals, becoming the 53rd player in Major League Baseball to accomplish this feat.
Michael Cuddyer is the son of Henry Cuddyer and Marcia Harris. He also has a younger sister named Katie. Cuddyer is well-known as a magician in the clubhouse, often pulling out cards or stabbing himself in the foot to get a few laughs out of his teammates, he even once did a castration sleight of hand to fool teamates . He married Claudia Rente, a high school English teacher from his home town of Chesapeake, Virginia, on November 11, 2006. At 3:23 PM on June 20, 2008, Cuddyer and wife Claudia welcomed their son, Casey Jonathan. He was 7lbs 8 oz and 20 inches long.
On June 2, 2010 Cuddyer's father-in-law died. This caused Cuddyer to miss the next four games on the Twins road trip.
- Career statistics and player information from MLB, or ESPN, or Baseball-Reference, or Fangraphs, or The Baseball Cube
- After years in limbo, Cuddyer's a fixture (Minnesota Public Radio)
- Cuddyer's persistence pays off (Minnesota Public Radio)
- Despite rough start, Cuddyer remains upbeat (Minnesota Public Radio)