Buxton shows off all his tools in leading role
MINNEAPOLIS -- All of top prospect Byron Buxton's tools were on display in his first career start as the leadoff hitter for the Twins in Monday's 13-2 win over the White Sox.
After Buxton had made the first eight starts of his career as the No. 9 hitter, Twins manager Paul Molitor moved him up to the leadoff spot because he liked the matchup with left-hander John Danks. It turned out to be a good decision, as Buxton went 3-for-5 with three runs scored in his first career multihit game.
"I'm just glad Molitor had that much faith in me to put me in the leadoff spot," Buxton said. "I just tried to relax and have fun."
Buxton made the most of his first at-bat, as he doubled to right field on a 2-0 fastball from Danks. It was the first career double for Buxton, who scored easily on a single to left by Brian Dozier to give the Twins an early one-run lead.
"It's got to feel good for him to get a multihit game and contribute and get a chance to lead off and score a run in the first inning," Molitor said. "So it was nice to see him respond with that challenge and be a part of the win."
Buxton also showed off his arm in the third inning to help left-hander Tommy Milone get out of a jam, making a strong throw home to throw out Melky Cabrera. Buxton's throw was clocked at 93.2 mph, while Cabrera was running 18.4 mph, per Statcast™.
"It was a big play," Molitor said. "That inning potentially could have got out of hand there, because we had trouble getting that third out."
Buxton's second hit came in the sixth inning against right-hander Scott Carroll, and he displayed his speed, reaching on an infield single to shortstop Alexei Ramirez. His third hit, a single to right field in the eighth, came off Junior Guerra.
Molitor said before the game that Buxton's move to leadoff, which was his usual role in the Minors, isn't permanent, and said after the game that he's still deciding whether Buxton will lead off again on Tuesday with right-hander Jeff Samardzija on the mound for Chicago.
"You kind of put a blueprint down for a series before it begins, and I don't know if that'll happen tomorrow," Molitor said. "I have the people I want to play tomorrow, but I don't know how they're going to line up just yet."