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Cuddyer returns with big game vs. Giants

Cuddyer returns with big game vs. Giants

SAN FRANCISCO -- Rockies outfielder Michael Cuddyer didn't believe he was gone long enough to lose his swing.

Cuddyer, activated Friday after missing 14 games with a bulging disk in his neck, doubled and homered in four at-bats and scored two runs in a 5-0 victory over the Giants at AT&T Park.

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The double with two out in the first and his eighth homer of the season both came off losing pitcher Tim Lincecum. Cuddyer increased his RBI total to 26, fourth most on the team.

"You never know with baseball; you feel good and sometimes you don't get good results," Cuddyer said. "I felt good, my neck felt great, I felt comfortable in the box.

"I didn't feel like I missed much time. In the grand scheme of things, I really didn't miss too much time."

It was the third time in his career that Cuddyer has dealt with the neck issue. The first two times, in 2004 and 2011, he didn't even go on the disabled list, mainly because he was in the American League with the Twins and they could afford to carry him until he healed.

It's not that Cuddyer didn't hurt. He bordered on immobile in his first days on the DL. Only after an epidural shot did the pain begin to subside. Once the pain was gone, two games in extended spring training in Scottsdale, Ariz., were all he needed.

"Because I've had this before, it's not like I've pulled a hamstring or something where I'm not confident in it," Cuddyer said. "Because I know what it feels like and what it feels like to get back, from the first moment I stepped back in the box on Tuesday, I was confident to be myself."

Cuddyer believes he is past the bout with the neck issue. He suffered the original injury in 2004 and it flared in 2011. This year's bout with pain stemmed from a play during an early May series against the Rays, when he slid into second trying to break up a double play. He's not exactly sure if it was the result of contact. Then a few days later, he felt it while running down the first-base line in a game against the Yankees.

"You're not ever 100 percent sure, but I'm confident it's not going to be a recurring thing," Cuddyer said.

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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