At the beginning of the season, MLBbro.com did a report covering the rising tensions concerning the Minnesota Twins and its fan base over the structured playing time of Byron Buxton.
While the fans were shortsighted over wanting to see one of the more dynamic superstars in Major League Baseball, the franchise’s big picture was to ensure that their superstar was healthy and somewhat fresh for a postseason run.
Our MLBbro didn’t make things easy by starting the season on a serious roll on the diamond. And he remained relatively healthy at first.
To recap the situation from earlier this season, the medical staff set up a schedule requiring him to take mandatory days off for rest and therapy for his knee. That included keeping him out of the designated hitter spot in the lineup. Considering the list of injuries that Buxton has suffered over the last couple of seasons (left thumb, both wrists, left big toe, left shoulder, right hip, migraines and a concussion), the Twins were committed to sticking to the plan.
The fans were concerned with the bottom line; when Byron Buxton is on the field, the Twins win games. When he is out of the lineup, Minnesota is a below .500 team with no star power to strike fear in opponents outside of Carlos Correa. In short, Byron Buxton is the best player on the field and when he’s present the Twins are an elevated bunch.
Even though the franchise made some strides with their season long plan with Buxton, who made his first All-Star squad and played the most games since 2017 (92), the right knee tendinitis was still a problem. The bottom started falling out last month when his knee forced him to the DH position in ten of the 14 games he played in August. Then on August 23rd, the Twins placed him on the 10-day injured list with a right hip strain.
Minnesota manager Rocco Baldelli described the injury as serious and said caution would be taken going forward, via MLB.com.
“He had a few things go on (Monday where you could tell he was really feeling it,” Baldelli told MLB.com after Monday’s game. “Over the last few days, he’s been in a spot where he’s been on the verge of not being able to go out there, not being able to swing or run. But he’s continued to post up and continued to go out there and play at not a high percentage of what he can normally do physically.”
— MLBbro.com (@MLBbrodotcom) July 19, 2022
Right now the Twins need the MLBbro in any capacity. The Twins have fallen from the top of the AL Central standings to third place. With their current record of 69-70, Minnesota finds itself on the outside looking in for the third and final wild card spot.
For the Twins to be able to enjoy baseball in September into October, they need Buxton “Bro Bombing“ much like he was in June.
Even though Buxton hasn’t been cleared to ramp up baseball activities, Baldelli according to Aaron Gleeman of The Athletic is holding out hope that he will return at the end of the season.
#MNTwins injury updates from Rocco Baldelli:
– "Early to mid next week is probably a realistic timeline" for Jorge Polanco (knee) to return.
– Byron Buxton (hip, knee) is expected to return before the end of the season, but "not this weekend and probably not early next week."
— Aaron Gleeman (@AaronGleeman) September 10, 2022
With reports that Buxton’s absence from the lineup will extend through the weekend to possibly next week, it is clear that the franchise is being extremely cautious with their best player. Everyone involved is hoping that this is not similar to the hip strain that kept him out for most of the 2021 season.
In any event, the season is slipping away along with the Twins’ playoff hopes. No matter when our MLBbro returns, if the Twins miss the playoffs, the early tension that started between the team and the fans over Buxton’s playing time and injuries will possibly rage in the offseason.