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Buxton could return for set vs. Angels

Twins' center fielder optimistic after testing fractured toe
Special to MLB.com

ST. LOUIS -- Twins outfielder Byron Buxton ran the bases, testing out his fractured toe. He reported that the pain is tolerable, and he was optimistic about an imminent return.

"I'm just trying to get in to help my teammates out," Buxton said. "I've been out long enough. I've got that itch to get back out there and just try to keep this going, keep that spark going and keep getting wins."

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ST. LOUIS -- Twins outfielder Byron Buxton ran the bases, testing out his fractured toe. He reported that the pain is tolerable, and he was optimistic about an imminent return.

"I'm just trying to get in to help my teammates out," Buxton said. "I've been out long enough. I've got that itch to get back out there and just try to keep this going, keep that spark going and keep getting wins."

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Buxton could be reinstated from the disabled list when the Twins begin a four-game series at Anaheim on Thursday. It doesn't appear that he will need a Minor League rehab assignment.

"There's some momentum about not doing that, to be honest with you," manager Paul Molitor said. "We'll have to collect everyone's thoughts back in Minneapolis and here with staff and trainers and see what we want to do. If he looks like he's ready to go, we'll have to make that decision within the next 48 hours."

Molitor talks extras
Long extra-inning games take their toll on a team's bullpen, and they often create the need for a pitcher to be sent down to the Minors simply to bring up a fresh arm to get through the next game.

While there are ideas such as starting extra innings with a runner on second to promote easier scoring and shorter games, Molitor would rather keep the current system.

"The carryover is just so significant for clubs, so the whole idea of trying to be creative and finding ways to increase chances of runs being scored, and all those types of things to minimize the chance of how long you might play, I'm not sure if that's going to pick up a lot of momentum," Molitor said. "Certainly the purist side of things is not going to be favorable to try to make adjustments to create ways to score.

"It's been a part of the game for a long time. I think as much as it hurts you at times, I would be opposed."

Dozier adjusts to new lineup spot
Molitor believes second baseman Brian Dozier's move to the two-hole in Minnesota's lineup will pay off.

Dozier, who has been the Twins' leadoff man since July 2016, was slotted one spot down in the order for fifth straight game on Tuesday against the Cardinals. The hope is that it will help spark Dozier, who carried a .226 average into Tuesday.

While Dozier was hitting just .222 (4-for-18) in the two-hole entering Tuesday's game, Molitor likes what he's starting to see.

"It's a good spot to hit, to be honest with you, especially if you've got opportunities in front of you," Molitor said. "He's had a couple of good games, and last night I thought he had some good swings and got under a few balls, but I think he's starting to come out of what we saw there for that stretch of seven or eight games."

Video: MIN@CWS: Dozier homers to lead off the 3rd

The commitment to keeping Dozier in the second spot was shown in Tuesday's lineup, which featured Logan Morrison leading off and playing first with Joe Mauer getting a scheduled day off. Morrison, known as a power hitter, hasn't led off a game since 2015.

"It gives me a lot more flexibility with my left-right combinations throughout the lineup, and I'm kind of liking Dozier in the 2-hole for now," Molitor said. "I didn't want to flip that back up on top for a one-day basis with Joe being back available on Thursday."

Joe Harris is a contributor to MLB.com based in St. Louis.

Minnesota Twins, Byron Buxton, Brian Dozier