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Buxton (shoulder) set for first live BP Tuesday

Twins release '20 broadcast schedule with up to 10 national games
March 9, 2020

FORT MYERS, Fla. -- Byron Buxton will take his first session of live batting practice at the Twins' Spring Training complex on Tuesday, manager Rocco Baldelli said after Monday's 3-0 loss to the Cardinals at Hammond Stadium, in an important step in his progression towards game action. The Twins' center

FORT MYERS, Fla. -- Byron Buxton will take his first session of live batting practice at the Twins' Spring Training complex on Tuesday, manager Rocco Baldelli said after Monday's 3-0 loss to the Cardinals at Hammond Stadium, in an important step in his progression towards game action.

The Twins' center fielder, recovering from labrum surgery in his left shoulder last September, is expected to hit against right-hander Homer Bailey and three Minor League pitchers alongside several teammates while the club's travel squad heads north to Clearwater, Fla., for a day game against the Phillies.

Though Buxton hasn't seen any action in spring games yet, both Baldelli and chief baseball officer Derek Falvey indicated that would be the eventual next step if Buxton responds well to his session. Neither Baldelli nor Falvey had a sense yet for whether Buxton could see enough plate appearances to get ready for the regular season in what remains of Spring Training, but they will likely have a better sense for that in the coming week.

"I don't have a schedule for Byron Buxton," Baldelli said. "Our training staff does not have a schedule for Byron. He's going to show us what his schedule will be by how well everything goes as it is laid out."

The Twins established at the onset of Spring Training that their goal has always been to get Buxton ready for Opening Day, and even though they can't yet commit to any specific timeline or any assurance that their center fielder will be with the team on March 26 at the Oakland Coliseum, both Baldelli and Falvey continued to express optimism in the quality of Buxton's recovery.

"He's hit all of his marks," Baldelli said. "We're going to start with tomorrow, is really what we're going to do, but I don't think it’s too long before you could see him in game action. We're going to get through tomorrow first, and hopefully, that goes well. We have no reason to believe it won't. And then [we'll] go from there."

Buxton's eventual progress should have a trickle-down effect on what the remainder of the Twins' 26-man roster will look like for Opening Day. If Buxton is limited in his workload at the start of the season, that could be good news for the chances of Jake Cave or LaMonte Wade Jr. to make the team over Willians Astudillo, since the Twins would likely be in need of a true fourth outfielder.

That fourth outfielder could be doubly important to the team right now because Marwin Gonzalez's outfield workload could also be scaled back early in the season due to his continued recovery from an offseason patellar debridement surgery in his right knee.

Twins release full 2020 broadcast schedule
Every regular-season Twins game will be televised for the third time in franchise history, as announced by the club Monday when it unveiled its full television broadcast schedule for 2020. The slate features 157 games on local broadcast partner FOX Sports North and up to 10 national broadcasts across FOX Sports 1 (four), FOX (two) and ESPN (four), up from two nationally televised games in last season's preliminary broadcast schedule.

The following games will be carried on national broadcasts this season, with five also carried on FOX Sports North:

• March 29 at OAK (ESPN, FSN)
• May 2 at LAA (FS1)
• May 26 at NYY (ESPN, FSN)
• June 6 vs. LAA (FOX)
• June 20 vs. NYY (FS1)
• July 4 at CLE (FOX)
• July 17 at TEX (FS1)
• Aug. 10 at BOS (ESPN, FSN)
• Aug. 29 at TB (FS1, FSN)
• Sept. 23 at SD (ESPN, FSN)

Play-by-play broadcaster Dick Bremer, back for his 37th season, will be joined in the booth by analysts Bert Blyleven, Jack Morris, Roy Smalley, Jim Kaat, Justin Morneau and LaTroy Hawkins.

FOX Sports North will also debut three half-hour television specials this season about various elements of the Twins' international engagement and development pipeline: "Baseball in the Dominican Republic — Nelson Cruz" (April 14), "The Pursuit — From Berlin to the Bigs (Max Kepler)" (April 22) and "Baseball in the Dominican Republic — Twins Academy" (June 10).

Odds and ends (roster moves edition)
• In addition to the seven players optioned and reassigned to Minor League camp as part of the Twins' first round of cuts from Spring Training on Monday, right-hander Fernando Romero was moved to the restricted list as he continues to work through customs and visa issues encountered when he attempted to enter the United States.

• The four pitchers that the Twins optioned on Monday were Lewis Thorpe, Dakota Chalmers, Jorge Alcala and Jhoan Duran. Of those four, Baldelli said that Thorpe, Alcala and Duran will be stretched out normally as starters, while Chalmers will have a different plan due to an innings limit this season imposed by his recovery from April 2018 Tommy John surgery.

"We'd rather start him slow and let him finish the season strong than start him now and get to a point in the season where you feel like you have to cut off his innings because you've run out of buildup time," Falvey said. "By all accounts, he had a great camp."

Up next
Right-hander Sean Poppen is in line for his fourth appearance -- and first start -- of the spring on Tuesday, when the Twins head north to Clearwater, Fla., for a 12:05 p.m. CT contest against Zack Wheeler and the Phillies. Though Poppen doesn't appear to be an active factor in the competition for the fifth rotation spot, he will likely be a viable starting or length option for the Twins at some point in the season as he continues to refine his command and consistency in the strike zone with his hard sinker. The game can be streamed on MLB.TV.