MINNEAPOLIS -- Only nine days after he was activated off the injured list, Byron Buxton is going back on the 10-day IL -- this time, with a left shoulder subluxation that was sustained in a collision with the outfield wall at Marlins Park on Thursday.
In addition, Michael Pineda was placed on the 10-day IL with a right triceps strain and C.J. Cron (right thumb inflammation) was activated from the injured list on Saturday as part of a flurry of roster moves that also saw Lewis Thorpe optioned to Triple-A Rochester and Jake Cave and Zack Littell recalled to the Major League club.
As usual, manager Rocco Baldelli avoided giving any specific timeline for Buxton's recovery, but it should be several weeks before Buxton sees the field again. Baldelli said that Buxton would require a "couple of weeks" of rehabilitation on his shoulder before evaluating him for participation in baseball activity. Baldelli expects to have a clearer idea of Buxton's progress in two weeks.
"Obviously a tough day for [Buxton] and for us, but that said, he’s going to work through the rehab part of this process, and hopefully in a few weeks we have some good positive updates and we can get him back out there," Baldelli said.
Buxton hurt his shoulder after he crashed into the center-field wall at full speed while trying to catch Harold Ramirez’s triple Thursday in Miami. He stayed in for the remainder of that contest, but he sat out Friday’s series opener against the Royals after feeling soreness in the shoulder.
A subluxation occurs when a joint is partially dislocated following an impact but slides back into place.
This will mark the third stint on the IL for Buxton this season. He was sidelined for 13 games in June with a right wrist contusion after being hit by a pitch, and he had just returned to the Twins following a 10-day stay on the IL with concussion-like symptoms.
This also marked the third time this season Buxton's playing time has been affected by a collision with an outfield wall. He was removed from a game against the Royals on April 2 after hitting the wall, and was also pulled from a May 28 contest against the Brewers following a collision.
"The reason these things happen is he does things on the field that no one else does," Baldelli said. "He moves very fast, he has no fear, he goes out there to make plays that nobody else in baseball can make. And he continually does. And sometimes because of that he puts himself at risk. And that’s what we’ve seen here."
"I'm going to be me," Buxton said earlier this season. "I'm going to go out and play aggressive and that's how I play. Like it or not, that's who I am."
Pineda's injury appears less serious, and Baldelli characterized it as more of a discomfort in the muscle that arose during the big right-hander's last start against the Marlins on Thursday, when he was lifted after 80 pitches despite having allowed only one run. Pineda had a 2.23 ERA over his last six starts with 36 strikeouts and nine walks, lowering his season ERA to 4.15.
"We didn’t want to push anything, even though he was throwing the ball really well," Baldelli said.
Fortunately for the Twins, the lineup will still be boosted by the return of Cron, whose thumb is feeling better than it did following his previous activation off the injured list after he received a cortisone injection in the area and gave it more time to heal. Cron had previously tried to play through the pain but took the extra 12 games on the injured list to allow the discomfort to subside. He looked plenty healthy on Saturday, going 3-for-4 with a 428-foot home run and two RBIs in the Twins' 11-3 win over the Royals at Target Field.
"Yeah, it's better," Cron said. "I was thinking a little too much into it. I was trying to change my grip. I was trying to add things to my bat to reduce the vibrations and stuff like that. This time, I said, 'Screw it. I'm just going to hit normal.' It actually helped a lot more. It feels more comfortable in the box and that's all that matters."