Big Bux Hopes To Resume His MVP Campaign

Big Bux Hopes To Resume His MVP Campaign

Byron Buxton is set to begin his rehab stint in Triple-A St. Paul with the hopes of returning to the Big League club this weekend. Buxton has been seen running at 100 percent. If all goes well, he should return to the Twins’ lineup for their weekend series in Minnesota against Michael Brantley and the Houston Astros.

He will look to reclaim the starting job in centerfield for the American League All-Star team and put his name back in the conversation for Most Valuable Player.

Buxton came out the gate throwing harder haymakers than Ali to begin this season.  It seemed he had finally put all five tools together as he hit .370 with nine home runs, 17 RBI and five stolen bases in his first 24 games of the year.  

 

 

 In April, he was awarded the AL Player of the Month Award after batting .426 with a .466 On Base Percentage, eight home runs, 14 RBI, 15 Runs Scored and three steals.  He also set Twins’ franchise records for March and April in batting average, slugging percentage and OPS.

His defensive play in centerfield had him on his way to winning the first Gold Glove of his career. On May 6, Buxton hit a grounder to the shortstop in the late innings of what would end up being a loss to the Texas Rangers. 

 Buxton has always been a hustler as he has beaten out multiple routine plays throughout his career.  

This time as Buxton crossed first base it was apparent something was wrong.  He did not return to the game and ended up having a Grade 2 right hip strain, which put him on the Injured List for the last 30 games.

His absence has truly shown how valuable Buxton truly is to Minnesota.  Buxton had a Wins Above Replacement rating of 2.7 before his injury, good for third in MLB.  Marcus Semien, who won the AL Player of the Month for May,  is tied with Vladimir Guerrero Jr. for first in the American League with a WAR of 3.1.

The Twins were sitting in first before Buxton went down and since then are 13-17 and have fallen into last place, 12 games behind the first-place White Sox in the AL Central.

Buxton is returning just in time to have his name in conversations to be at this year’s All-Star Game next month in Denver.  Fan voting determines the starting lineup for each division while the managers decide on the rest of the rosters.  

I believe the fans will handle their business and vote Buxton as the centerfield starter despite him missing time with a few injuries this season.  

The All-Star Game is a collection of the greatest talent in the sport, and fans will be cheated if they are not able to see Buxton chase down balls in centerfield while hitting home runs out of the launching pad that is Coors Field.  

American League Black Knights Battling Injury Bug

American League Black Knights Battling Injury Bug

Finally, the Chicago White Sox saw Tim Anderson in the lineup and not just on the cover of his video game.  The White Sox resident batting champ and web gem manufacturer returned from a 10-day bit on the injured list in time to strap up for Jackie Robinson Day with #42 on his back Thursday afternoon.

 

 

Anderson is one of the MLB bros who have been sidelined with injuries after returning from the warmth of spring training in the sunbelt to the arctic refrigerators of the north.  For years players – like Anderson — appear to be ready to hit the season in high gear only to be physically throttled down by strains and pulls that accompany opening games on the frozen tundra.

Nothing says to the Boys of Summer, “let’s get back to work” like night games on Lake Michigan in early April. 

In his return from the pale hose M*A*S*H unit Anderson was 2-for-5 and scored once as the White Sox lost to the Cleveland Indians 4-3. Perhaps it was the time spent with the joystick that jump-started the big stick at the plate.  Before the injury, he was hitting .200. Friday’s game against Boston was rained out so let’s see how the charismatic face of MLB for Nike does next time out. 

Another early-season casualty is Minnesota’s Byron Buxton who was not in Rocco Baldelli’s lineup for a third straight day as the Twins handled their business against the Boston Red Sox and beat them in a Jackie Robinson Day matinee’ 4-3.  Buxton is dealing with what is being called hamstring tightness and the move appears cautionary. 

Still, another body trying to adapt to the colder weather after a short regular season followed by what may be considered a rushed offseason, Buxton’s setback is another that could be attributed to the weather. 

Meanwhile, in Toronto, $150M, free agent acquisition George Springer is still sidelined. After starting the season on the injured list because of a Grade 2 oblique strain, Springer is currently dealing with a quad injury he incurred last week while running. That’s bad news because it seemed as if Springer was close to game action before the quad issue popped up. He’s missed the first 13 games and Toronto (6-7) sits three games behind 9-4 Boston.

 

 

Seattle swept a doubleheader on Jackie Robinson Day and are sitting atop the AL West at 8-5 entering Friday night’s game. Surprisingly, they’ve done all of this without their 2020 AL Rookie of the Year Kyle Lewis.

Lewis was expected to have an MVP-type season in centerfield for Seattle, but a deep bone bruise has him sidelined since the beginning of the season.

 

 

The Seattle Mariners have gotten very little offensive production from their center fielders in Lewis’ absence. Mariners centerfielders have hit .139 with 21 strikeouts in 36 at-bats this season, entering Thursday. Backup, Taylor Trammel has shown flashes of brilliance but has also been largely overwhelmed by MLB pitching.

Mariners general manager Jerry Dipoto said Thursday that the team is “very optimistic” centerfielder Lewis will play during Seattle’s two-game series against the Los Angeles Dodgers, which begins Monday.

Let’s hope so because we can’t have our elite Black Knights on the sidelines. There are already too few of them in the game.