An MRI of Twins outfielder Byron Buxton's left foot has revealed a hairline fracture of his big toe, which will lengthen his absence from the lineup.
But, because it's not a major fracture, the Twins hope that Buxton will recover quickly from his latest setback. And even he acknowledged that he intends to play through the pain.
"I'm going to always try to play with it," Buxton said. "Will probably let it sit for the next couple of days or let the symptoms go down a little bit and see what I can tolerate."
Buxton suffered the fracture on Sunday when he fouled a ball off his foot while playing in his first minor league rehabilitation game for Class AAA Fort Myers. He remained in the game, taking two more at-bats, before taking his shoe off after the game and learning what he had done.
"I realized I was not putting my foot back in my shoe," Buxton said. "It is what it is."
Buxton was on a rehab assignment after recovering from a migraine that knocked him out of the five games, going back to the Twins-Cleveland series in San Juan Puerto Rico. Buxton has not played in a major league game since April 12 against the White Sox
"You're hoping that it is one of those things that won't be extremely long," Twins manager Paul Molitor said. "We really had to search to find it. But it is going to change how we do things here in the short term. Just monitor how he does things day in and day out through the remainder of the homestand. See where he's at by the time we have to leave town again and make a decision again."
Buxton will have to go out on another rehab assignment once he's healthy, so hes likely another week or two away from returning to action for the Twins.
"It's frustrating," Buxton said. "You're trying to go down there an get at bats and get back up there to help us out and something else happens. I'm just glad to be back up here and get from down there and get back with them and be around them and create some energy."
He’s changed (up)
Fernando Rodney has an excellent changeup. It comes in 8-10 miles an hour slower than his fastball, and flummoxes hitters.
He has thrown it an average of 35.4 percent in his career. Not so far this year, as he’s thrown it just 18.6 percent of the time while his fastball usage is sitting at a career high rate of 78.3 percentage.
It appears to be a toxic ratio, because he’s blown three saves and has a 5.87 ERA. He did earn the save on Saturday, stranding two runners on base.
Rodney has a reason.
“Sometimes early in the season, I don’t like to use that pitch too much,” Rodney said, “Sometimes because of the weather, and the hitters sometimes are late on the fastball.”
He went through it last season with Arizona, posting a 12.60 ERA the first month but 2.38 the rest of the way. His 4.19 ERA in late March/April is the second highest of any month. He’s indicating that he increases the use of the pitch as the season progresses and the weather improves.
On Saturday, four of Rodney’s 19 pitches were changeups. Adam Duvall fouled one off for a strike before flying out. The other three missed the plate.
The Twins appear willing to allow Rodney to stick with his routine.
“Historically, he has started off slow,” Twins pitching coach Garvin Alston said. “He’s a veteran. He’s going to be fine. His changeup will be there. His fastball will be there.”
Miguel Sano was not in the lineup because of a tight left hamstring. Molitor said Sano was bothered by it some last night during the game against the Reds. "With the quick turnaround, we don't want to push that," Molitor said.
The Twins have called up righthander Matt Magill from Class AAA Rochester to provide a fresh arm for the bullpen. Magill has thrown 8.2 scoreless innings for the Red Wings. He appeared for the Twins during spring training as an extra pitcher. His fastball hovers around 94, but he has touched 97 this year. He also throws a slider and has a change up he'll throw to left handed hitters.
Righthander Phil Hughes will make his next start on Wednesday against the Blue Jays. The Twins feel Hughes has a couple mechanical issues he can work through that will improve the quality of his pitches as well as his command.