Twins heart fielder Byron Buxton suffered a “boxer’s fracture” — a fracture on the base of the fifth metacarpal in his left hand — when he was hit by a pitch throughout Monday evening’s recreation towards the Reds, supervisor Rocco Baldelli introduced to reporters after the competition (Twitter link by way of Betsy Helfand of the St. Paul Pioneer Press).
It’s a deflating damage for a Twins membership that solely simply welcomed Buxton again from a month-long absence attributable to a hip flexor pressure this previous weekend. Buxton appeared in three video games, going 4-for-10 with a house run and a double, earlier than getting hit by a pitch in tonight’s contest. Baldelli was obscure when requested about an anticipated restoration interval for Buxton, who’s batting .369/.409/.767 with 10 homers, 11 doubles and 5 stolen bases in simply 110 plate appearances this yr.
Accidents have been a frequent hindrance for Buxton lately, though there’s little he might’ve carried out about an errant Tyler Mahle fastball that ran up-and-in on his fingers (video link). It’s a tough-luck damage for each Buxton and for the Twins, who’ve rattled off 5 straight wins as they hope for a season-saving push within the standings prematurely of subsequent month’s commerce deadline. Clearly, a Buxton damage will do them no favors in that uphill battle.
The Twins have cycled by varied choices in Buxton’s absence this yr, though two in-house options — Jake Cave and Rob Refsnyder — are on the injured checklist themselves in the mean time. Cave’s damage, a fracture in his again, will preserve him out for the foreseeable future. Refsnyder is presently mending a hamstring pressure. Longtime infield prospect Nick Gordon has been getting his toes moist in heart area lately, and proper fielder Max Kepler has confirmed able to taking part in a stable heart area over time. Prospect Gilberto Celestino bought a quick look as effectively, however he was making the bounce straight from Double-A and struggled significantly in 10 video games and 33 plate appearances.
Even with 5 straight wins underneath their belts, the Twins are nonetheless 10 video games underneath .500, which makes it extremely unlikely the group would sacrifice any younger expertise for a right away choice to assist bridge the hole in Buxton’s newest absence. An in-house patching of the issue, at the very least within the quick time period, appears the likeliest route, which possible means some mixture of Kepler and Gordon in the intervening time. Veteran Keon Broxton is available in Triple-A St. Paul, however he’s batting simply .169/.260/.215 with the Saints and has fanned in almost half of his plate appearances. He’d give the Twins a reliable defensive choice, however his offensive woes towards Triple-A pitching are fairly obvious, to say the least.
It’s value noting that whereas the Buxton damage will solely additional gas hypothesis in regards to the Twins’ trajectory on the commerce deadline, they’ll at the very least have yet one more likelihood to manage their very own destiny, so to talk. As soon as the Twins wrap up a quick two-game collection towards Cincinnati tomorrow, they’ll play solely AL Central opponents for almost a month.
Minnesota hosts the Indians for 4 video games this weekend earlier than a seven-game highway journey to Chicago and Kansas Metropolis. They’ll shut out the primary half with seven at dwelling towards the South Siders and Tigers earlier than opening the second half with 4 on the highway in Detroit and three extra in Chicago. It’d clearly take fairly a run in that stretch of divisional play — particularly early on — to show the tides of their 2021 season. However with such a prolonged slate throughout the AL Central on the horizon, it’s uncertain the Twins will bounce the commerce market, even within the wake of a probably crushing damage.