Buxton 'more explosive,' 'doing very well'

Center fielder (hip strain) will get 2nd opinion before Twins plot next steps

June 19th, 2021

ARLINGTON -- The Twins progressed to their second city of this road trip with in tow on Friday -- and still, the center fielder wasn't in position to be added to the active roster due to his lingering hip strain.

Manager Rocco Baldelli indicated that Buxton did early drills on the field before the series opener against the Rangers at Globe Life Field, and Buxton looked "much more comfortable" and "more explosive," but the Twins hoped to get another opinion from Dr. Keith Meister, an orthopedic surgeon who serves as the Rangers' team physician, before they determined Buxton's next steps.

"I don’t want to say what may or may not be happening next," Baldelli said. "He’s doing very well, so we’ll take exactly what we saw today and feel really good about it."

Buxton has essentially been in a holding pattern since he appeared in three rehab games for Triple-A St. Paul last week. Despite going 5-for-9 with two homers, a double and a triple, Buxton reported feeling issues in his hip during the rehab assignment and still wasn't able to run at 100 percent as he accompanied the Twins during their last stop in Seattle.

Still, Baldelli emphasized that Buxton was imaged again to make sure there wasn't any more extensive damage to the area and "got the results that [they] were hoping for." Despite the continued prolonging of the timeline for Buxton's return, Baldelli indicated that the Twins still expect Buxton to be activated in the next one to three days, when they feel his body could be in better position to handle the rigors of running at full speed every day.

And though Buxton hasn't returned to the field as quickly as the team's handling of him last week might have suggested, the skipper also made sure to note that none of this represented a significant deviation from the expected timeline.

"There’s nothing abnormal or unexpected about what’s been playing out," Baldelli said. "I think this is right in the kind of window of where you would expect to be coming back from this type of injury. This was not a very minor muscle strain. This was a very notable legitimate MRI kind of verified issue and in an area of the body where not many professional sports medical staff members have seen."

Cruz remembers old Globe Life Park

Only nine position players appeared in more games at the Rangers' former home than Nelson Cruz, who played 438 games at Globe Life Park, most of which came in eight seasons with the Texas organization.

Considering he spent two All-Star campaigns with the Rangers in that stadium and made consecutive runs to the World Series in 2010 and '11, he was certainly sad to see the team move across the street to a new home, with the old ballpark visible through the glass windows behind left and center fields.

"You have so many good memories from that old stadium," Cruz said. "It's like a friend you never wanted to see leave."

But after he took batting practice for the first time at Globe Life Field, Cruz gave his stamp of approval. He described the new park as "totally different" but "beautiful, no doubt." The designated hitter was also grateful to have the retractable roof closed for Friday night's series opener, separating the teams from the 91-degree weather outside.

"Especially days like today would probably be smoking hot," Cruz said. "So it takes a lot out of your body. Definitely, players appreciate it, especially the ones who play every day here."

Anderson claimed by Rangers

The Twins didn't need to place right-hander Shaun Anderson on waivers considering he had a remaining Minor League option. The organization continues to struggle through injuries all over its 40-man roster, but Minnesota did so nonetheless, and the reliever was claimed by the Rangers on Friday.

Baldelli spoke more generally about the availability of the 40-man spot for the flexibility to make internal or external additions to the roster, but he also alluded to the fact that Anderson might benefit from a better roster situation.

"He went out there, we asked him to do some things that he was not overly -- I don't want to say prepared to do -- but things he hasn't done in the past," Baldelli said. "So it's not like we were able to really put him into a position where he could show us exactly what he could do."

Due to the Twins' continued pitching injures, including the continued absence of long relief options Lewis Thorpe and Devin Smeltzer, Anderson was put in a position where he'd frequently need to eat innings instead of pitching in more traditional short relief stints. He posted a 9.35 ERA in four games for Minnesota this season.