If there was any rift between Byron Buxton and the Twins over not restoring the Gold Glove outfielder to the major league roster in September, there are no signs of it now, chief baseball officer Derek Falvey said Tuesday.
“We’ve had multiple conversations with [Buxton] since the end of the minor league season in early September,” Falvey said during a conference call with Twin Cities media members. “He’s connected with his teammates, players and members of the front office. He’s excited about being part of the Twins going forward. All of the conversations were about the future, and I feel good about where he’s headed with us.”
He’s also healthy again, which is a relief to the Twins after a summer filled with migraines, a fractured toe and a strained wrist, all of which limited him to 28 major league games and a .156 batting average. Buxton recovered in August and was expected to be recalled when rosters expanded in September, but the Twins chose not to, a move that will prevent Buxton from reaching free agency until after the 2022 season, rather than 2021.
“[From] our feedback from our trainers at the end of the year, he’s feeling great,” Falvey said. “We feel like he’s in a good place.”
Mauer still in limbo
The Twins have stayed in touch with Joe Mauer, too, Falvey said, but are in no hurry to force a decision from the first baseman about 2019. He becomes a free agent after the World Series. Mauer’s final 2018 game, including his surprise ninth-inning appearance as a catcher, had all the trappings of a retirement farewell, but the Twins are interested in having him back if Mauer wants to return.
“We told Joe, in the right situation and the right thoughts about the future — obviously there is a lot that goes into signing somebody — we’ve always told him we’d welcome Joe back, certainly,” Falvey said.
For now, they’re giving him the time he’s asked for to reach a decision.
“He will come to us when he’s prepared to have a conversation about what he plans to do,” General Manager Thad Levine said. “We’ll be patient and respectful” until then.
Manager search update
The Twins have held face-to-face interviews with internal candidates to be their new manager, Falvey said, but they have not yet met with any outside candidates. Hitting coach James Rowson was interviewed last week, and presumably bench coach Derek Shelton and perhaps another couple of current coaches also have been considered.
They also have contacted a few prospective candidates to replace Paul Molitor, fired on Oct. 2 after four seasons leading the Twins, and have begun vetting them.
“We also have heard from a number of different people from across the game who have interest,” Falvey said. “I’m not terribly surprised by that. We feel this is a job that stacks up there with any in baseball, in terms of candidates who want to be here. This is a supportive ownership group, a good environment, an opportunity to impact some young players, and a growing team. There are a number of people who have reached out to put their hat in the ring.”
The Twins are believed to have interest in former players and current television analysts Mark DeRosa and David Ross. Giants bench coach Hensley Meulens is also expected to be contacted, as is Astros bench coach Joe Espada, whose team has advanced to the AL Championship Series. Falvey said he expects interviews with outside candidates to begin later this week.
Six teams are searching for managers, and there may be competition for the best candidates, so “we need to be expedient and nimble” about selecting one, Levine said, though there is no urgency yet.
• Utility infielder Ehire Adrianza underwent surgery to repair a torn labrum in his left shoulder, an injury that occurred as he checked his swing in August. The tear in his non-throwing shoulder, revealed in a magnetic resonance imaging test after the season, prevented the switch-hitter from batting righthanded in the final three weeks, but he declined to sit out because of the injury. He is expected to recover in three to four months, Levine said, “which is why we wanted to address that as early as we could.”
• Lefthanded pitcher Adalberto Mejia, his season cut short by an irritated nerve in his left arm, will report to the Twins’ camp in Fort Myers, Fla., later this month to have his wrist examined in hopes he can begin a throwing program by December.
• Eddie Rosario’s strained right quad, which kept him off the field for most of the final two weeks, has healed, and the Twins expect no lingering effects.