The Twins were giving Byron Buxton a rest day due to his ongoing knee problem, but Wednesday was more than just a regular day off for the star center fielder. Thursday didn’t happen either.
Buxton pulled out of the lineup for the final two games of the three-game series against division rival Cleveland after his right knee became particularly nagging.
“If Buck could swing and run, he would play (Wednesday) and play today,” manager Rocco Baldelli said ahead of Thursday’s final series against the Guardians at Target Field. “But these are things he can’t do at the moment and we have to watch him and evaluate him and just see what he’s capable of every day and that’s really what it all comes down to. If he was able to do these things, he would play.”
Baldelli called Buxton’s injury “a severe chronic case of tendinitis that results in severe swelling”.
The manager said there is no one specific reason why Buxton’s knee is inflamed, instead pointing to general activity. But on occasions like this, when it’s clear that Buxton can’t play, there’s usually an improvement fast enough to give the Twins hope he’ll be back soon.
Buxton missed five games in April with an injury after a painful slip forced him out of a game in Boston. Only once has he missed two games in a row this season. The outfielder has played in 51 of the team’s 71 games (72 percent) and is close to playing more than 100 games this season for only the second time in his career.
Although Buxton’s knee has plagued Buxton all season, the Twins have no plans to include him on the injured list. After all, they have no idea how effective it can be. Instead, the Twins gave Buxton one or two days off a week.
“(We) don’t know if we took a month’s leave, what it would do, if it would solve the problem, if it would just help a little, or if it would be something, if he took a significant vacation, he would just deal with the same symptoms for several games after returning? Baldelli said.
Baldelli said that all imaging tests done on the knee were performed by multiple physicians; everyone agrees that Gemini handled it right.
“Is it flashing, or what do you want to call it right now?” Baldelli said. “Yes, it’s probably worse now than it was two weeks ago, but it hasn’t changed in the sense that it’s the same thing we’ve been facing for two and a half months now. It hasn’t changed. It hasn’t disappeared, and it hasn’t even come close to actually disappearing.”
The twins activated Josh Winder from his rehab and selected him to Triple-A St. Paul. Winder, who has a 3.68 earned run average in seven games with the Twins this season, has been on the injured list since May 21 with a pinched right shoulder.
Although the Twins picked him on Thursday, Winder’s next start could very well be in the big tournaments. Baldelli suggested the right-hander would be “in pretty serious consideration” to hit the doubleheader that the Twins will play next Tuesday in Cleveland as the 27th man.
Having six real starting players doesn’t make sense right now, Baldelli said, as active rosters now have a limit of 13 pitchers.