OAKLAND, Calif. — Byron Buxton crushed a batting-practice home run over the out-of-town scoreboard a few minutes ago, a nice reminder to his team that he’s still got an exciting repertoire of baseball skills just waiting to be put to use. The Twins’ most-hyped prospect since Joe Mauer is back in a Minnesota uniform, and he seems much more relaxed and determined than you might expect from a 22-year-old with a .195 career batting average.
But Buxton was a different player for Class AAA Rochester, reviving all the expectations that come with being named one of the top two prospects in all of baseball for three seasons. A month of batting .336 with six homers revived his confidence, too.
“It’s still a big jump [to the majors], but it’s always good to start off like that,” Buxton said Tuesday, shortly after arriving to replace the injured Danny Santana. “You get sent down and then you get hot again and get your confidence back.”
He’ll bat ninth for the Twins, as he mostly did during his rough 17-game start to the season, in order to ease the transition back to the big leagues, manager Paul Molitor said. And Buxton isn’t the only player back in the lineup tonight, either.
Trevor Plouffe, his sore knee bothering him far less than it did in Seattle over the weekend, makes his first start since Friday. And Kurt Suzuki, shaken up by a Nelson Cruz’s foul tip off his mask Saturday night, is behind the plate again to catch Tyler Duffey.
Here are the lineups for the second of three games at O.co Coliseum: