For the third time this season, the Minnesota Twins have lost center fielder Byron Buxton to injury. The team announced Saturday that Buxton has been placed on the 10-day injured list with a left shoulder subluxation. Manager Rocco Baldelli told reporters, including MLB.com’s Do-Hyoung Park, the injury will sideline Buxton a “couple of weeks.”
Buxton suffered the injured crashing into the outfield wall Thursday afternoon. He was in Friday’s original lineup before being a late scratch. Here’s video of the play:
Buxton missed 11 days with a wrist contusion in late June and another 10 days with concussion-like symptoms in late July. Toe and wrist injuries sabotaged his 2018 season as well. Given Baldelli’s comments, it sounds like Buxton could be sidelined until rosters expand in September with this current shoulder injury.
Around the injuries, Buxton has been enjoying his long-awaited breakout season. The 25-year-old owns a .262/.314/.513 batting line — once adjusted for ballpark, that is 14 percent better than league average — with 30 doubles, 10 homers, and 14 steals in 17 attempts. Add in stellar defense and he has been a 3-WAR player through 82 plate appearances.
Although Jake Cave was called up to fill Buxton’s roster spot, Max Kepler is expected to move over to center field in the interim, with Marwin Gonzalez taking over in right field. That severely weakens the team defense — Kepler is rated as a standout right fielder but a below-average center fielder — but, offensively, the hit isn’t too big.
Minnesota also placed right-hander Michael Pineda on the 10-day injured list Saturday, the team announced. He has a triceps strain and Baldelli said Pineda is not expected to miss much time. “It was more of an odd, slightly uncomfortable feeling, than it was any sort of acute injury,” Baldelli told reporters, including Betsy Helfand of the St. Paul Pioneer Press.
The Twins come into Saturday with a three-game lead over the Indians in the AL Central. The lead was 11 games as recently as June 15, however, plus the two division rivals still have 10 head-to-head games remaining this season. That includes four games at Target Field next weekend.