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Buxton returns from DL for opener in Anaheim

Twins outfielder starts vs. Angels, his first game since April 12
MLB.com @RhettBollinger

ANAHEIM -- The Twins received a big boost Thursday, as center fielder Byron Buxton was activated from the 10-day disabled list before the opener of their four-game series against the Angels. Outfielder Ryan LaMarre, who hit .324 in 20 games, was optioned to Triple-A Rochester to make room for Buxton on the roster.

Buxton started in center field and batted ninth, going 0-for-2 with two strikeouts and a walk in a 7-4 loss.

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ANAHEIM -- The Twins received a big boost Thursday, as center fielder Byron Buxton was activated from the 10-day disabled list before the opener of their four-game series against the Angels. Outfielder Ryan LaMarre, who hit .324 in 20 games, was optioned to Triple-A Rochester to make room for Buxton on the roster.

Buxton started in center field and batted ninth, going 0-for-2 with two strikeouts and a walk in a 7-4 loss.

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The Twins reinstated Buxton, despite the fact he hasn't played since April 12 and he played in only one Minor League game while on rehab assignment on April 23, sustaining a hairline fracture to his big left toe on a foul ball off his foot. He was originally on the DL with migraines sustained during the Puerto Rico series.

"His impact on the game, over and above what he does with the bat, is significant, so we felt it was the right the thing to do," manager Paul Molitor said. "It's hard to say [how he'll do offensively]. You just hope he doesn't try to do too much."

Buxton, who won both the Rawlings Platinum Gold Glove Award and the Wilson Defensive Player of the Year Award last season, tracked pitches during bullpen sessions from Twins pitchers, and he has been hitting in the cages for more than a week. The biggest concern remains his long layoff, as Buxton said he felt fine while performing cuts while running in St. Louis early this week.

"I haven't had any at-bats, but I'm ready to go," Buxton said. "I feel confident, comfortable. Just me getting out there into the swing of things. My bat might be a little slow, but just defensively, I can play a huge part, and I'll look up to make up anything offensively."

Video: MIN@PIT: Buxton grounds an RBI double to left

Buxton, who hit .195/.233/.244 in 11 games before going on the DL, said he also spent time trying to look for tells from pitchers about what type of pitch they're going to throw while tracking pitches.

"It's nothing like being in the game, but just being able to see the pitchers and see spin should help me out tremendously," Buxton said. "It was more of me trying to pick [pitchers] apart. I used my DL time to try to find the different things guys do before they throw pitches. Like a guy might move his glove a certain way."

Javier out for season
Twins shortstop prospect Wander Javier will undergo season-ending surgery later this week to repair a torn labrum in his left non-throwing shoulder. Javier, the club's No. 5 prospect and the No. 97 overall prospect per MLB Pipeline, dealt with the shoulder injury last year, but it worsened this season.

Javier, 19, hit .299/.383/.471 in 41 games with Elizabethton in the Rookie League last year.

Sano joins Twins in Anaheim
Third baseman Miguel Sano, who has been on the DL with a left hamstring strain since May 1, will continue his rehab at Angel Stadium over the next four days, but he isn't expected to be activated from the DL this weekend. Sano ran, took grounders at third and hit on the field before Thursday's game, but he is still a few days away from being healthy enough to play without the fear of a setback. There remains a chance he could also go on a rehab assignment next week.

"We felt it would be good to keep track of his progress, instead of just monitoring the reports from afar," Molitor said. "And to have Sano around the team is a healthy thing, too. But we didn't bring him here because he's imminently close. But I thought he had a really good day today. He did more than I thought he could do."

Sano was encouraged by his recent progress, and he admitted it's been frustrating to be on the DL with a hamstring strain for a third straight year.

"I put in a lot of effort and worked hard to be able to join the team," Sano said through an interpreter. "Anything I worked on, I worked an extra hour and a half, or an extra hour, to get better. And now I'm here."

Twins Honorary Bat Girl announced
Major League Baseball announced the Honorary Bat Girls for each of the 30 clubs as part of the annual "Going To Bat Against Breast Cancer" initiative, and Jennifer McLaughlin of Wayzata, Minn., was selected as the Twins' representative.

McLaughlin works at the Hope Chest for Breast Cancer and was diagnosed with the disease on Dec. 26, 2017, changing her perspective from someone who works with breast-cancer survivors to becoming someone with breast cancer. Her cancer was detected with a 3D mammogram, and she encourages others to do the same, as it wouldn't have been detected that early with a regular mammogram. Each honoree's story of fighting breast cancer can be found at HonoraryBatGirl.com.

Rhett Bollinger has covered the Twins for MLB.com since 2011. Follow him on Twitter @RhettBollinger and Facebook.

Minnesota Twins, Byron Buxton