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Saturday, October 16, 2021

With future uncertain, Byron Buxton focused on health

KANSAS CITY — The Twins’ attempts to lock down their star center fielder this July were ultimately unsuccessful, and as a result, Byron Buxton’s future with the Twins remains uncertain.

Will they continue to try to shut her down? Will they trade him? Will he move to free agency after next year?

While the prospect of being traded has crossed his mind, Buxton said on Saturday that he was “nothing” about which he is concerned, even considering the twins deal Jose Berrios. , which, like Buxton, was another year of club control over the trade deadline. Instead, Buxton is using his off-season to focus on his health and how he can prepare his body for the rigors of a 162-game season.

“The only uniform I know of is the Minnesota Twins,” Buxton said. “It’s the only thing I really care about. As far as contracts and stuff, I’m in twin uniform. At the end of next year, I’ll see how it goes.”

As far as potential contract negotiations go, Buxton, 27, said he “really doesn’t know too much about it.” And that doesn’t necessarily have to be at the forefront of his mind on Saturday, the day before the end of the season.

“There’s no rush. I’m still on contract for another year. I’m sure they’re probably still talking,” Buxton said. “I’m not too into that. Focused on trying to end the season on a good note and keeping the door open.”

Buxton’s 2021 season was riddled with injuries, but when he was on the field, he was easily the Twins’ most productive player. Buxton had a 4.0 WAR (wins over substitution) according to FanGraph, and was only slightly behind first-timers Jorge Polanco (4.1 fWAR) in the team entering Saturday, even though Polanco had more than 90 at-bats. was more than double the number. Games played compared to Buxton.

Buxton was the American League’s Player of the Month in April, hitting .426 with a .466 on-base percentage and .897 slugging percentage after a hip strain put him out of action from early May to mid-June.

Three days after returning, he had a pitch hit on his arm, due to a boxer’s fracture in his left hand. That injury kept him off the field for more than two months.

“This year it was more mentally exhausting, just stuff I couldn’t control,” Buxton said. “Normally, it would be me running into a wall, stuff like that where you look back and it’s like, ‘Okay, if you didn’t do that you might have got to play 20-30 more was the game.’ This year was more mentally exhausting than the fact that I really had no control over the injuries. It was more than just being mentally stronger for me.”

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Working through it, he said, taught him more about himself and more about himself, both on and off the field.

Buxton entered Saturday’s game with six hits in his last two games – five for extra bases – ending the season just as it began, and he is already eclipsing his major league career in home runs. , entering Saturday with 18 from only 59 games.

“He’s the kind of guy who constantly comes back stronger. Every time he has to deal with something, he comes back stronger in every way,” said manager Rocco Baldelli. “… that’s a lot. He has been a consistent person. It is not easy to do all this. It allows his abilities to really surface and grow because he doesn’t really let things get in the way. ”

And as Buxton ends the season, he said he is already “very pumped” about the 2022 season.

This season, he said he plans to work with a nutritionist in the hopes that making dietary changes can help Buxton stay on the field consistently.

“Just make sure I’m getting the right things for my body in terms of inflammation, because that’s the way I work hard,” Buxton said. “…just trying to focus a little bit more on my body and making sure I can stay on the field. That’s the biggest key for me now. Staying on the field right now. (Me Trying to do everything I can off the field so that I can get that chance.

Now the question is, how long will the best player of the Twins stay in the Twins uniform?

“Obviously I didn’t play a lot of games. But for me, just being able to go out and swing the bat and I know that’s the way I can swing the bat, which allows me to try not to be really different for the off-season. Prepares for, but pushes me to be better,” Buxton said.


twin placed John Gantoo On Saturday with a mild strain on the right groin and was recalled to the list of injured Charlie Barnes, which will kick off the Twins season finale in Kansas City on Sunday.

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