MINNEAPOLIS -- The Twins received good news on center fielder Byron Buxton, as an MRI exam taken on his left hand came back clean and he was diagnosed with a hand contusion after there were worries he suffered a fractured hamate bone. He is day to day.Buxton suffered the injury
MINNEAPOLIS -- The Twins received good news on center fielder Byron Buxton, as an MRI exam taken on his left hand came back clean and he was diagnosed with a hand contusion after there were worries he suffered a fractured hamate bone. He is day to day.
Buxton suffered the injury on a swing that saw his hand come off the bat in the first inning of Wednesday's win over the White Sox. He stayed in the game, and he singled into center in his final at-bat in the sixth, but he was removed for a pinch-hitter the next inning because of pain in his hand. He underwent testing before Thursday's 5-4 walk-off win over the White Sox, and the Twins were relieved he didn't break his hamate bone, which would've been season-ending.
"He had a little bit of a hand contusion last night and we just wanted to be sure," Twins chief baseball officer Derek Falvey said. "Things are progressing pretty good. He's pretty sore today, but hopefully we dodged any major issue there. The expectation is today he's available off the bench, but more [for] running and defense."
Buxton spoke to reporters before the game, and he said his hand didn't feel any better than it did on Wednesday, but he was optimistic it wasn't serious.
"The bat slipped out of my hand, and I felt a sharp pain in my hand," Buxton said. "I didn't pay any attention to it and tried to battle through it. My last at-bat, [it was] throbbing pretty good. It was a painful hit."
Buxton, 23, has been hot recently, hitting .324/.354/.619 with eight homers and 22 RBIs in his past 29 games. With his defense and speed, the Twins can't afford to lose him for an extended period. He leads the team with 4.4 Wins Above Replacement, according to Baseball-Reference.com.
Buxton made another strong defensive play on Thursday, registering a four-star catch to rob Adam Engel of extra bases, per Statcast™. Buxton covered 68 feet in 4.2 seconds, giving it a catch probability of 49 percent. Buxton improved to a Major League-best 24-for-25 on four-star catch opportunities.
With Buxton out, rookie Zack Granite started in center field on Thursday, and he's expected to remain in center in the short-term until Buxton is healthy.
• Third baseman Miguel Sano (left shin) continues to make slow progress and remains in a walking boot. Falvey said there is still soreness and that Sano underwent further testing on Thursday.
• Catcher Jason Castro (concussion) has progressed to running drills and swinging the bat off a tee without any issues. But he's still at least a few days away from returning, as he needs to ramp up his activities and take live batting practice before being cleared. He's close enough that the Twins aren't expected to bring up another catcher once rosters expand.
• Outfielder Robbie Grossman (fractured left thumb) has been taking batting practice from both sides of the plate, but he still isn't ready to throw. He's still dealing with soreness when swinging, but Falvey said he could be activated before he's ready to throw, which would allow him to serve as designated hitter.
• Left-handers Hector Santiago (back strain) and Adalberto Mejia (left biceps strain) will both make one more rehab start with Triple-A Rochester. Santiago's decreased velocity remains an issue, but he'll start again Sunday, while Mejia will start Monday. Fellow left-hander Dietrich Enns (left shoulder strain) will start his rehab with Rochester on Friday.
Rhett Bollinger has covered the Twins for MLB.com since 2011. Follow him on Twitter **@RhettBollinger** and **Facebook**.