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Cuddyer could return on Friday

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DENVER -- Rockies right fielder/first baseman Michael Cuddyer will play two days this week at extended spring training in Scottsdale, Ariz. If all goes well, he will rejoin the active roster Friday in San Francisco.

Cuddyer, on the 15-day disabled list with a bulging disk in his neck, said Monday that he is doing all baseball activities without pain and is ready for game action. Playing games in Arizona against Minor Leaguers offers more flexibility than the traditional Minor League rehab assignment.

He'll play Tuesday and Wednesday, take Thursday off and be ready to go Friday, as long as there are no setbacks.

"I'll get a lot of at-bats and freedom as far as playing the field -- maybe play five innings or seven innings, but still hit," Cuddyer said.

Cuddyer last played on May 8 before the neck problem flared. He had similar injuries in 2004 and '11 while with the Twins but was able to avoid the disabled list. Without the ability to DH with the Rockies, he had to be placed on the DL because National League teams have a greater need to have all their active players available.

Cuddyer is batting .319 with seven home runs and 23 RBIs in 31 games. First-year manager Walt Weiss has enjoyed becoming acquainted with Cuddyer.

"First of all, I didn't know much about him," Weiss said. "I watched him play last year from my couch a lot. But as soon as I got this job, everybody I talked to about our club, when I tried to learn about our club in the offseason, everybody talked about Cuddy and how important he is to this club, how much of a pro he is.

"So I knew that coming into Spring Training. He's everything that people have said about him. He's really valuable to our club. He's having a great year. He's a really productive player, means a lot to our team."

Thomas Harding is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Hardball in the Rockies, and follow him on Twitter @harding_at_mlb. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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