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Buxton back in lineup day after crash into wall

Special to MLB.com

SEATTLE -- For a change, center fielder Byron Buxton got a bit of good news when he showed up to Safeco Field on Sunday morning.

Buxton was sore the day after crashing full-speed into the right-center-field wall going after Nelson Cruz's two-run home run in the sixth inning of the Mariners' 4-3 victory on Saturday night.

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SEATTLE -- For a change, center fielder Byron Buxton got a bit of good news when he showed up to Safeco Field on Sunday morning.

Buxton was sore the day after crashing full-speed into the right-center-field wall going after Nelson Cruz's two-run home run in the sixth inning of the Mariners' 4-3 victory on Saturday night.

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Buxton also had a sore elbow, and a welt over his left eye. But he was well enough to slide back in the Twins' starting lineup for the series finale Sunday.

"He took a pretty good shot, but he's doing OK today. There are no carryover symptoms," Minnesota manager Paul Molitor said. "He wanted to play, and I want him to play, so it's a good combination."

Talking at his locker stall a few hours before first pitch, Buxton said he never looked back for the wall.

"I knew I had to be close," Buxton said. "I felt my first step on the warning track, and then I knew I had to get up [in the air]."

The rest of it -- the crash into the wall, the fall back on the field and the sudden loss of breath -- happened so fast.

"I was in a little bit of a daze," Buxton said.

He said the first thing he remembers looking for while on the ground was where his fielding glove was. It was next to him.

"Then I realized, 'I can't breathe,'" Buxton said. "It was [scary]. It was one of those things, you just need to calm yourself down and don't panic."

A few minutes later, he was up and walking toward the dugout, eventually removed for reserve outfielder Robbie Grossman.

Buxton conceded it was the hardest he'd ever hit a wall during a baseball play.

After speaking to Buxton after the game, Molitor said he was cautiously optimistic that the 24-year-old Georgia native would be able to play Sunday.

It wasn't a sure thing, given that he had missed a game in April against Cleveland with migraine headaches, then missed the next 20 games (April 18-May 10) being on the disabled list with a fractured left big toe.

But Buxton came through Saturday night feeling OK. And after talking to the team's medical staff, and Molitor, he was ready to get back into action.

Plus, an outfield crash in the same city Ken Griffey Jr. once roamed isn't too bad of a tale to tell your family for years to come.

"I watched [Ken Griffey Jr.] growing up as a kid, so you know the mentality and the fearlessness he had is kind of who I want to be," Buxton said.

Todd Milles is a contributor to MLB.com.

Minnesota Twins, Byron Buxton