At 11-19, the Minnesota Twins are off to a disappointing start this season. They’re 6-17 since their 5-2 start and have fallen to six games behind first place Cleveland in the AL Central. It’s still early, but Minnesota has dug themselves a bit of a hole these last few weeks.
The Twins will have to climb out of this hole without the dynamic Byron Buxton. Buxton was placed on the 10-day injured list with a Grade 2 hip strain Friday, the team announced, and his absence is “probably more of a discussion of weeks than days,” manager Rocco Baldelli told reporters, including Betsy Helfand of the St. Paul Pioneer Press. Trevor Larnach will take Buxton’s roster spot.
It’s unclear when exactly Buxton suffered the injury. He collided with the wall in the top of the seventh inning on Thursday, then labored down the line while running out a ground ball in the bottom half of the inning. Buxton again had a hard time getting down the line in the ninth, and he was removed from the game after the inning. Here’s the video:
Earlier this year Buxton missed four games with a hamstring injury and the new hip injury does not appear to be related. “There have been times very recently where Buck’s been flying around the field and looked uninhibited while doing it,” Baldelli told reporters, including MLB.com’s Do-Hyoung Park, regarding the previous hamstring injury.
Buxton, 27, has been one of the best players in baseball in the early going this season, hitting .370/.408/.772 with 10 doubles, nine home runs, and five stolen bases with his typically excellent center field defense. His 2.7 WAR currently leads baseball by a decent margin,.
Unfortunately injuries are nothing new for Buxton, who played in only 154 of 384 possible games from 2018-20 due to a variety of injuries, including shoulder, wrist, toe, and concussion problems. He has not played more than 65 percent of games in a single season since 2017.
Minnesota’s outfield has been hit hard by injuries. Buxton (hip), Luis Arraez (concussion), and Alex Kirilloff (wrist) are all on the injured list, leaving the team with Jake Cave, Max Kepler, Kyle Garlick, and Larnach as outfield options.