MEMORY POLICE – As Byron Buxton continues, so do the twins – that was why the club hoped the hit-by-pitch of Monday night’s 7-5 win in 12 innings against the Reds was nothing too serious.
But the twins’ besieged center field just can’t take a break.
The club announced that X-rays revealed a left fracture to Buxton – described as a boxer’s fracture – which is expected to sideline him again in weeks, if not months, although the twins did not have an exact timeline for his recovery immediately after the opening of a two-game Interleague Series at Target Field.
“We can not talk about justice,”
In his third game, since being activated from the injured list after his recovery from a hip strain, Buxton was hit on the left hand by a 93.7 mph fastball from Red right-handed Tyler Mahle during the fourth inning. Buxton was initially diagnosed with a left hand contusion before imaging revealed the extent of the injury.
The midfielder had originally remained in the game after invoking his case to Baldelli and head athletic coach Michael Salazar, and Buxton put his position at the top of the fifth inning as he stretched far into the space between right and center to pick inning-end fly ball. He did not return to the field for the sixth and was replaced by Nick Gordon in the middle field.
“He’s so tough and he’s willing to literally play with almost anything,” Baldelli said. “He should not be able to walk so he could come out and say, ‘I can’t play. ‘ The words never come out of his mouth. You will literally have to remove him from the field to get him off the field. It’s just who he is as a guy and as a competitor.
“He had tremendous pain on the pitch after being hit by that pitch, and I think anyone, including him, had to know if you feel something like that, it might not be a good situation. He’s not responding to pain. He just goes out there and keeps playing. “
Buxton had been 4-for-11 with two singles, a double and a homer in parts of three games since returning Saturday from the hip strain that had put him on the field for nearly six weeks. His hip seemed more than fine as he ran out of both of those hits with sprint speeds that far exceeded the elite limit of 30 ft / sec., Including one in Monday’s second inning as part of a three-race rally by the Twins.
He hits .369 / .409 / .767 with 10 homers, 11 doubles and five steals in 27 games so far this season.
Buxton has already treated a right hamstring strain and hip strain this season, but only the latter sent him to IL. The twins were 17-22 in his absence. The injury did not stop him from continuing to garner support in the All-Star poll, with the latest update showing him third place among all U.S. league outfielders behind Mike Trout and Aaron Judge in the first round of voting.
But now Buxton will not be able to enjoy the potential honor – or continue his fierce, career-best season at the record – due to another in a series of brutal setbacks that recently included a wall-to-wall drive that resulted in a season-ending shoulder surgery in 2019 and a hit-by-pitch in the helmet against these Reds in September 2020, which kept him out of the starting lineup for both playoff games.
“No one should have to deal with what Buck is dealing with right now, and none of that is because of his own fault,” Baldelli said. “He’s the most upright, hard-working, wonderful teammate and baseball player you could find. Again, tough night and I feel a lot for him.”