Severity of Buxton's latest injury unclear
MINNEAPOLIS — X-rays taken of Byron Buxton's left hand Friday,July 13, were negative, but the Twins still are waiting for further tests to know the full extent of what is another injury setback for the center fielder.
Recently activated from the disabled list after recovering from a broken toe, Buxton is working out the kinks in his swing at Triple-A Rochester. He hurt himself during a third-inning at-bat in Thursday night's game against Scranton/Wilkes-Barre.
Buxton, 24, fouled off several pitches and was agitated at the plate, according to media reports, then took himself out of the game with what was described as a sore wrist.
Twins manager Paul Molitor said the team was awaiting results from a magnetic resonance imaging exam to determine a course of action.
"The optimism would be that it's only a minor strain, whether it's tendon-related or whatever," Molitor said before Friday's game against Tampa Bay at Target Field. "Haven't decided on the (disabled list) down there or what we're going to do, (whether) it's a seven-day instead of a 10-day (stint)."
Minnesota had not determined a return date for Buxton, who was playing his 18th game at Rochester. Because of migraines, the toe injury and now trouble hitting, he has played in only 28 major league games this season, hitting .156 with a .183 on-base percentage and 28 strikeouts.
He was hitting .239 in Rochester before hurting his hand. He also injured his toe during an at-bat when he fouled a ball off his big left toe during a rehab assignment at Class A Fort Myers.
"When they keep coming, they get challenging," Molitor said about Buxton's setbacks. "Probably have to get your mind around it. You can't feel sorry for yourself. It's something you've got to deal with, whether it's two days, five days or 10 days. Just do the next thing you need to do."
The uncertainty continues for two core players who have missed significant chunks of time this season. Third baseman Miguel Sano, an all-star in 2017, remains on a rehab assignment at Single-A Fort Myers, where he was dispatched June 14 to work on his conditioning.
After starting 54 games for Minnesota at shortstop, Ehire Adrianza was relegated to utility man July 2 when regular Jorge Polanco returned from a steroids suspension.
A 10-day stint on the disabled list ended Thursday when he played third base for the first time in 2018. Molitor said he might get a start at first base this weekend against the Rays because Logan Morrison was placed on the d.l. Thursday with a hip injury.
Since hitting his first career grand slam June 12 at Detroit, Adrianza was hitting .276 with six runs, a pair of doubles, five runs batted in and two walks.
"Better at-bats, better contact, instinctual on the bases and a steady defender," Molitor said. "I like that he can play as many different positions as he can, which is the role he's going to be now unless something changes. In today's game and short bench, guys that can do what he does add a lot of value."
Fernando Rodney earned his 21st save in Thursday night's 5-1 victory over the Rays by retiring Tampa Bay's final two hitters with the bases loaded.
Rodney entered the game with one out in the ninth to relieve an ineffective Ryan Pressly. Joey Wendle lined a shot off his left forearm, which Rodney turned into a force out at home. Then he struck out Matt Duffy to end the game.
Entering Friday night's game, Rodney was 18 for 20 in save opportunities with a 2.13 earned-run average and .196 opponent average. An impressive turnaround after he racked up three losses and two blown saves during the first month of the season.
"Some people want to point at the blemishes, I'd point more at the consistency," Molitor said. "I couldn't be more pleased. He's tough-minded. He's resilient. He's still got velocity. He's still got composure. He's done everything we could imagine on that back end these first 90 games."