Buxton's shoulder rehab halted after setback

Center fielder rejoins club in Chicago; Lewis, Kirilloff to play in AFL

August 29th, 2019

CHICAGO -- ’s litany of injuries has been a constant and frustrating story of the young outfielder’s career. His status for the rest of 2019 remains unclear after another setback during his latest rehab assignment.

Buxton’s rehab assignment with Class A Cedar Rapids has been temporarily halted following some discomfort he felt during batting practice over the past two days. The 25-year-old outfielder was also removed from his game on Sunday after just two at-bats.

Buxton underwent an MRI on his left shoulder Tuesday morning, and it revealed no structural damage. The 25-year-old rejoined the team in Chicago on Wednesday to be re-evaluated.

“It's just something, you know, you don't feel right when you're swinging,” Buxton said. “Not that it's a big problem, but it kind of affects me when I'm trying to do certain things. Don't want to kind of be limited to what I'm doing, so communicated it and the best decision was to try to take a step back and take a couple days and come up here.”

"He's going to continue his rehab," Twins manager Rocco Baldelli said. "That's not ending or anything like that, for sure. We'll get him here and we will probably know more once we get him and spend some time with him."

The 2017 Platinum Glove Award winner was placed on the 10-day injured list on Aug. 3 with a left shoulder subluxation after running into a wall against the Marlins on Aug. 1. It's his fourth stint on the injured list this season.

“It is what it is,” Buxton said. “Just kind of take a couple days to let it settle down and see how it reacts. It's frustrating, but I wanted to come up here and be with these guys, kind of take my mind off of it a little bit.”

“I think this is part of the process,” Twins general manager Thad Levine said. “... When he sustained the injury, when he had his rehab and we sent him out, there was a plan that was written in pencil. It was never written in pen because we knew there was going to need to be adjustments made. I think we're still optimistic that he's still going to help this team at some point before the season's end.”

Jake Cave emerging as a more than capable replacement does allow Minnesota to have more patience with Buxton. Cave entered Wednesday's game against the White Sox hitting .413 with a 1.198 OPS in 17 August games, 13 of which he started.

The Twins don't see this as a major step back for Buxton and his 2019 outlook. If there’s a chance Buxton can play, all options are still on the table.

“It has to be -- are you dealing with something or are you injured?,” Baldelli said. "And we don’t want our players going out there trying to play injured; we don’t want Buck putting himself at risk, short or long term for the sake of coming back and trying to contribute to the team. We want to make sure that he can comfortably play and not have to worry about injuring himself.”

Lewis and Kirilloff to play in Arizona Fall League

The Twins' top two prospects according to MLB Pipeline, Royce Lewis and Alex Kirilloff, will represent the club in the Arizona Fall League, as the eight AFL teams were announced on Wednesday. This will be the first AFL experience for Lewis and Kirlloff, who rank as the Nos. 7 and 16 prospects in all of baseball, respectively.

Lewis has struggled a bit in 2019 bursting on the seen after a phenomenal 2018 season. The Twins’ top prospect has hit .239 with 11 home runs and 48 RBIs between Advanced-A Fort Myers and Double-A Pensacola. Kirilloff has had a better time adjusting to Double-A, hitting .281 with nine homers and 41 RBIs in 91 games for Pensacola.