MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — The latest improbable catch by Byron Buxton caused a face-first crash into the grass, another painful highlight-reel grab for the Minnesota center fielder .
Unlike the all-out defense that Buxton normally puts on display, the Twins were more than willing to play it safe with this injury.
Buxton was placed on the seven-day injured list for players with concussion-like symptoms, just as first baseman C.J. Cron and left fielder Eddie Rosario returned from their injuries. The Twins also designated right-handed reliever Mike Morin for release or assignment Tuesday before their series opener against the New York Mets.
“We’re not going to mess around, really, in any way,” manager Rocco Baldelli said. “This is serious stuff. The health of Buck is obviously the most important thing. I think it’s something that is already resolving itself in some ways, but something where I think this is the right move.”
Buxton was hurt Saturday during his head-first, diving catch of a sinking line drive during a critical win at main division competitor Cleveland, forcing him out of the game in the eighth inning.
Buxton, who was sidelined for 13 games last month with a bruised right wrist, has had his promising career so far stunted by a variety of injuries, in part due to the speedster’s fearless style in the outfield and on the bases. Buxton was announced Tuesday as the team’s annual winner of the Major League Baseball Players Alumni Association’s Heart and Hustle Award.
“He hit the ground pretty hard, and this isn’t any sort of light injury,” Baldelli said. “He didn’t graze anything. He made a great play and hit the ground, and he gives his body up for this team every single night that he takes the field.”
The Twins, who took a six-game lead in the AL Central over the Indians into Tuesday night, have managed to maintain the highest-scoring offense in the majors despite putting 10 different position players on the injured list over various points of this season. Rosario was out for 13 games with a sprained left ankle.
“It’s been a tough couple of weeks when it comes to injuries and things like that, but I’m back today and I know what Buxton is going through is nothing bad and he’ll be back soon as well,” said Rosario, who’s second on the team with 20 homers and still leads the Twins with 60 RBIs.
Because of the All-Star break, Cron only missed five games with right thumb inflammation, a condition that has bothered him for most of the season.
“I’m just going to try to tape it up, I guess. Try to pretend as if nothing’s wrong and try to just keep going,” Cron said. “That’s really all you can do.”
Morin had a 3.18 ERA in 23 appearances after being invited to spring training on a minor league contract. His somewhat surprising removal from the roster could be the precursor to the addition of a reliever or two on the trade market over the next two weeks.
“When you make decisions like this, you can look back on them, and you’re not really sure because things are not obvious sometimes, but unfortunately we landed on the thought of designating Mike,” Baldelli said. “I have no doubt he’s going to land on his feet.”
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