Byron Buxton wasn't in the Twins' Opening Day lineup on Friday in Chicago, but he could be back in action when the Twins return to Minneapolis next week.
The Twins' center fielder has been sidelined since July 13 with a left mid-foot sprain sustained while he chased a fly ball during an intrasquad scrimmage at Target Field. He has since been ramping up his running and hitting at the team's alternate training site at CHS Field in St. Paul, Minn.
President of baseball operations Derek Falvey said Buxton drove to Chicago because he felt it important to be with his team for Opening Day and present for the pregame show of solidarity for racial justice at Guaranteed Rate Field on Friday. Buxton underwent treatment at the stadium on Friday, and he is expected to do so again on Saturday. Falvey indicated that the Twins don't expect Buxton to play this weekend, but the center fielder could return to the field following the three-game road trip.
"Quite candidly, we know he didn't have a full Spring Training back in Fort Myers [Fla.] and wasn't really in the games, came back and had his injury," Falvey said. "We feel like we're trying to gain as many at-bats and live experiences as possible. Taking a few extra days was important."
Twins manager Rocco Baldelli said that he saw cellphone video on Friday morning of Buxton running "very well" with intensity. Buxton has been seeing consistent at-bats against live pitching in St. Paul in an effort to keep his eye at the plate sharp.
"He's probably running at a well-above-average clip for a Major League player," Baldelli said. "Can I tell you it's 100 percent or pretty close to it? Not really. But I thought he looked in great shape."
Sanó still not '100 percent' at plate
Miguel Sanó dropped down to eighth in the Twins' Opening Day lineup, likely as an indication that his eye at the plate still isn't where he wants it to be following a two-week absence in Summer Camp due to COVID-19.
Sanó's defense at first base, a concern coming into the season, looked more than fine during Minnesota's exhibition against the Cubs on Wednesday, but he still doesn't have a hit since he returned to the lineup in intrasquad games at the end of camp. He acknowledged Friday that his plate presence still isn't completely ready, but he's still ready to play his part.
"I don't know if I'm 100 percent, but I'm ready to play," Sanó said. "I'll go down there and try to hit the ball and do what I need to do."
Twins, Juxtaposition Arts launch 'The Epicenter for Change' fundraiser
The Twins announced Friday that they will partner with Juxtaposition Arts, a teen-staffed art and design center in North Minneapolis, in a fundraiser to support Twin Cities communities impacted by the unrest in the aftermath of the death of George Floyd.
Limited-edition "The Epicenter for Change" T-shirts will be available for a $30 donation at twinsbaseball.com/change. The shirt was designed by local youth and includes images of the Minneapolis and St. Paul communities in an outline of Minnesota, featuring the Twins' logo in the location of the Twin Cities.
Funds will be evenly split between the West Broadway Business and Area Coalition, the Lake Street Council and the Saint Paul Area Chamber of Commerce.
“While the tragic death of George Floyd is a symbol of the deep pain present in our society today, his memory has proven to be the light of hope for a better tomorrow,” said Twins president Dave St. Peter in a statement. “The unified response from all corners of our state to help the communities and businesses damaged in the aftermath of May 25 is an inspiring sign of that promise. Minnesota is at the epicenter of a national reckoning; as a community partner, we are proud to join with Juxtaposition Arts to further the conversation and provide needed financial support for those locally who are rebuilding.”