ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

Twins carefully manage Byron Buxton’s playing time as outfielder deals with knee issue

Buxton has avoided the injured list this season thus far, but, including Sunday’s game, has played in just 23 of the team’s 35 games.

MLB: Cleveland Guardians at Minnesota Twins
Minnesota Twins center fielder Byron Buxton (25) reacts with third base coach Tommy Watkins (40) after hitting a home run off Cleveland Guardians starting pitcher Triston McKenzieon Sunday during the fifth inning at Target Field in Minneapolis<br/>
Jeffrey Becker / USA TODAY Sports
We are part of The Trust Project.

MINNEAPOLIS — It’s no secret the Twins are a better team when Byron Buxton is on the field.

So when they lost a close game on Saturday night and Buxton remained on the bench throughout, it drew the ire of a fanbase eager to see the team’s star player have an opportunity to contribute in an important moment.

Twins manager Rocco Baldelli certainly understands that. But these moves, he said, are done to safeguard the health of the Buxton, the team’s most important player, who has been playing through a right knee issue since April, and more recently, a mild right hip strain.

“Trying to keep guys as healthy as possible for 162 games and get the absolute most out of them can be challenging, and it’s more of a long game than anything else. It doesn’t always feel satisfying on a day-to-day basis,” Baldelli said. “There are frustrations from us, fans, the players themselves who want to be out there every day, but sometimes the decisions that are made are not fun or easy to make but we have to make them.”

MORE MINNESOTA TWINS COVERAGE:
Pro
Luis Arraez started the inning with a single off Baltimore closer Jorge Lopez
Pro
President of baseball operations Derek Falvey said the team is actively assessing the market ahead of the Aug. 2 trade deadline.
Pro
“This is probably the most difficult most, I would say, gut-wrenching … series I think I’ve ever been a part of,” manager Rocco Baldelli said
Pro
Sinclair, which owns Bally Sports North, soft launched Bally Sports+, a direct-to-consumer streaming service, last week available for fans to stream Detroit Tigers, Tampa Bay Rays, Milwaukee Brewers, Miami Marlins and Kansas City Royals games
Pro
It was the second time in the past eight days that the Guardians scored four runs in the last inning to shock the first-place Twins
Pro
Coming into Wednesday, the veteran has turned in five consecutive scoreless outings spanning 7 1/3 innings
Pro
His return means that Luis Arraez, who had shifted over to second base, will move back to first, where he has seen most of his playing time this season
Pro
A day after news broke that Johnson would be leaving to take the pitching coach job at Louisiana State University, Gray went out and pitched the Twins to an 11-1 win with seven scoreless innings
Pro
The Twins haven’t yet announced plans to replace him but bullpen coach Pete Maki and run prevention coordinator Colby Suggs are expected to assume bigger roles within the organization
Pro
Johnson has previous college coaching experience. Before joining the Twins, he served as Arkansas' pitching coach as it reached the College World Series final in 2018.

Buxton has avoided the injured list this season thus far, but, including Sunday’s game, has played in just 23 of the team’s 35 games due in large part to the knee issue, which the Twins have been managing with selective scheduled days off.

ADVERTISEMENT

After aggravating the knee on a slide in Boston on April 15, Buxton missed the next five games. Since then, the Twins have exercised caution with him both to manage the soreness and to ensure that he’ll be on the field as much as possible.

“This isn’t just kind of pre-emptive or however you want to describe it,” Baldelli said. “This is something we’re reacting to. It’s something that he’s been dealing with since the first week of the season and something that he’s playing through. All the things that he’s doing out there right know, all the amazing things that he’s doing, he’s doing while dealing with a pretty serious issue with his knee.”

Baldelli said Buxton is still dealing with some swelling in his knee and said the injury something that he “cannot play through and play every day.” In order to get him back to full strength or near it, Baldelli said they must build in these days off.

The manager said it’s his hope that they don’t have to do this the whole year — in addition to having scheduled days off, Buxton has also had days where he’s served as the team’s designated hitter — but for right now, it’s “what we have to do.”

“It’s in consultation with him and the training staff, medical staff, just trying to see exactly where he’s at on a given day,” Baldelli said. “He’ll certainly, I’ve said there are mistruths that he’ll tell sometimes with a smile on his face, too. He’ll try to fight his way into the lineup on days when he shouldn’t be, but we’ll try to work through that.”

Briefly

Baldelli said there is no hard timeline for Carlos Correa’s (finger) return, but they’re “starting to really narrow in on this upcoming week for hopefully a return.” … Baldelli said Kyle Garlick (calf) is expected to meet the team in Oakland after completing his rehab assignment. … Baldelli suggested Dylan Bundy (COVID-19) would be piggybacked his first game back after recovering from the coronavirus. That game is likely to come in Oakland this week.

ADVERTISEMENT

______________________________________________________

This story was written by one of our partner news agencies. Forum Communications Company uses content from agencies such as Reuters, Kaiser Health News, Tribune News Service and others to provide a wider range of news to our readers. Learn more about the news services FCC uses here.

Related Topics: BASEBALLMINNESOTA TWINS
What to read next
Pro
To their credit, the Lynx (6-15), who were coming off a 92-64 win over Dallas, made a game of it, but the Aces (15-5) had an answer for every push the Lynx could come up with
Pro
The Twins’ saves leader has given up 9 earned runs in 2⅓ innings over his past four appearances
Pro
Isner's fifth ace of the match was No. 13,729 of his career, eclipsing the mark previously held by Croatia's Ivo Karlovic
Pro
Minnesota acquired three-time NBA Defensive Player of the Year Rudy Gobert from Utah in exchange for four first-round picks in 2023, 2025, 2027 and 2029, along with Malik Beasley, Patrick Beverley, Jarred Vanderbilt, Leandro Bolmaro and Walker Kessler