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Buxton begins rehab, homers on first pitch

Twins center fielder out since July 14 with groin strain, migraines
Special to MLB.com

OAKLAND -- It took all of one pitch for Twins center fielder Byron Buxton to prove that he's healing just fine from the groin strain that landed him on the disabled list nearly two weeks ago. The headaches also appear to be over, too.

Buxton kicked off his rehab assignment by homering on the game-opening pitch for Triple-A Rochester against Toledo on Friday night, an encouraging sign for the 23-year-old who was in his best offensive stretch of the season before getting hurt.

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OAKLAND -- It took all of one pitch for Twins center fielder Byron Buxton to prove that he's healing just fine from the groin strain that landed him on the disabled list nearly two weeks ago. The headaches also appear to be over, too.

Buxton kicked off his rehab assignment by homering on the game-opening pitch for Triple-A Rochester against Toledo on Friday night, an encouraging sign for the 23-year-old who was in his best offensive stretch of the season before getting hurt.

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Twins manager Paul Molitor said the decision to send Buxton on a rehab assignment came after he was unable to play earlier this week when Minnesota was in Los Angeles facing the Dodgers. Buxton was eligible to come off the disabled list on Tuesday, but he was held out longer when he began suffering from migraines.

"It kind of materialized over the circumstances that arrived there in L.A.," Molitor said before the Twins began a three-game series in Oakland. "Originally if we had brought him back on his eligible day on Tuesday, it would have been a 10-day break. As it turned out, he missed a couple of days in L.A. with the migraines. We were looking at two weeks. I thought not only to make sure that leg was good but that the symptoms of the migraines were behind him, that to get out and play for the weekend makes sense."

Buxton has struggled at the plate most of the season, but he had hit safely in six straight games before getting hurt. He was hitting .476 (11-for-21) during that span with one home run, two walks and a pair of RBIs that raised his batting average to a season-high .218.

Provided Buxton doesn't suffer a setback, it's likely that he could rejoin the Twins Tuesday in San Diego for the start of a three-game series against the Padres.

Worth noting

• Third baseman Miguel Sano was back in the lineup Friday night against the A's after sitting out two days with a bruised left hand he injured while getting hit by a pitch. Sano took batting practice earlier in the day to test the hand and came out of it fine.

"The lineup looks better with his name in it," Molitor said. "He went out early today and took some batting practice, and I thought it started out a little bit like he was feeling his way, but he seemed to gain more confidence in that hand bruise with each swing that he took."

Video: NYY@MIN: Sano rocks three-run homer to left-center

• Molitor said that right-hander Phil Hughes would meet with a specialist in Dallas as he continues to deal with thoracic outlet syndrome. Hughes was placed on the 60-day DL earlier this month and he is not expected to pitch again this season.

"I read a report that was quite extensive. I probably understood about 10 percent of the words that were in the report," Molitor said. "To me so far, in general, I think they've ruled out a lot of the things arm-related to the potential symptoms that he's encountering. A lot of things are pointing back to the root of it still being related to the thoracic elbow symptom."

It was a year ago that Hughes underwent surgery to correct the issue. A rib that was causing the nerve and vascular impingement in his throwing shoulder was removed.

Michael Wagaman is a contributor to MLB.com based in the Bay area. He covered the Twins on Friday.

Minnesota Twins, Byron Buxton