Buxton back from IL: 'Can't be any happier'

August 28th, 2021

MINNEAPOLIS -- 's left hand is still a little sore, but he'll happily manage that soreness if it means he can finally put on a Twins uniform again.

A little more than two months after he sustained a broken left hand on a hit-by-pitch on June 21, Buxton was activated from the 10-day injured list for Friday’s series opener against the Brewers and went 0-for-3 with a walk in Minnesota’s 2-0 win. went to the 10-day IL with lower back tightness in a corresponding move.

"It's a good day," Baldelli said. "We've got Buck, and he's ready to go. Buck is one of the best players in the game. I don't know any other way to say it. He does so much for us in every single aspect of the way we operate, everything on the field, everything off the field, the energy he brings. He's excited to be back, and we're just as excited, if maybe not more."

Buxton is excited, but not overly zealous to the point where he'll immediately be going all-out. He understands that his recovery from the broken hand likely means that he'll be dealing with that residual soreness all year, and he knows that some things, like aggressive swings and misses and getting hit again, could aggravate his condition.

He'll be doing continued hand exercises through the end of the year to strengthen his grip and wear some padding on his left hand to mitigate some of the vibrations from hitting.

"I just want to play," Buxton said. "So it's just one of those things where I’ve just got to keep being myself, go out there and keep playing my game, but also know we’re also going to need me for the long run as well."

The center fielder will immediately add a lot of punch to the top of what an already-productive lineup, bringing a career-best .369/.409/.767 line and 10 homers in 27 games prior to this latest injury. If there's any good thing to be found from his two-month absence, it's that there's no question that the hip strain that cost him 39 games in May and June is now fully healed.

And though it was understandably tough for Buxton to go back on the IL through no fault of his own in only his third game back in the lineup in June, he also valued all the time he got to watch games with his family at home, including watching baseball with his older son, Brixton.

"He's a big [Fernando] Tatis [Jr.] fan," Buxton said. "Loves Tatis. Tries to imitate his swing. He even picked Tatis over me. He's a great player. I don't fault him at all."

Buxton was 4-for-13 with a double and a homer in four rehab games for Triple-A St. Paul, where he felt like he was seeing the ball well and felt good about how his hand felt when making contact -- and he's feeling even better now that he's finally back.

"Obviously, it’s been a long time, so just to get back out there and put the uniform on, it’s a blessing," Buxton said. "Can't be any happier to get back out there and win."