A couple of extras from a busy night at the ballpark:
Byron Buxton said he was fine. Well, as good as could be expected.
The Twins’ center fielder was almost a victim of his own range again on Tuesday, racing back to the wall in an effort to catch Ryan Braun’s straightaway blast.
But the ball tailed toward right field, Buxton had to make an unexpectedly awkward jump backwards, and the ball glanced off Buxton’s glove just before he crashed into the padded wall.
Did it hurt? “Oh yeah,” Buxton said afterward. He laid at the base of the wall for a moment while the play went on — Braun reached third base for a triple as the ball rolled toward the infield — but then jumped up when fellow outfielders Max Kepler and Eddie Rosario arrived to check on him. “It stunned me for a second. I hit pretty hard,” he said.
Buxton sounded a little surprised he didn’t make the catch, but said there was a reason. Its flight was not a normal path, he said, something he didn’t realize until he got to the wall.
“Castro said once it got about halfway out there, and I was probably at full speed, it started slicing really hard to the right,” Buxton said, referring to catcher Jason Castro. “I didn’t realize how much it was moving away from me, so I had to turn around at the end.”
The play was ultimately harmless, except for whatever bruises Buxton sustained from the crash. Adalberto Mejia left Braun stranded at third by getting Travis Shaw to hit a shallow fly to left, and Hernan Perez to fly out, ending the inning. And Braun finished just a home run short of a cycle, striking out in the ninth inning.
The Twins have a couple of options for Mejia’s next start, Sunday at Detroit, after placing the lefthander on the disabled list. Hector Santiago is scheduled to make a rehab start Wednesday night for Class AAA Rochester, so he could be scratched and told to rejoin the Twins right away, or his pitches could be limited, in order to rejoin the team this weekend while a different pitcher gets the job in the interim.
But it sounded like Paul Molitor might be willing to give Dillon Gee a try in the rotation. The former Met and Royal has pitched twice for the Twins, a three-inning stint against the Rangers and four innings on Tuesday, and hasn’t allowed a run.
“He’s had a couple of really nice outings. It was nice to see him come in and clean that game up like he did ,with four clean innings,” Molitor said. “I thought he pitched well his first time out too, and he’s got the experience, so it’s definitely an option.”
In that case, Santiago could be recalled and placed in the bullpen, filling Gee’s role. The Twins will announce their decision on Wednesday.
Molitor on Brian Dozier’s grand slam: “[Matt] Garza started him with a fastball in each of his previous at-bats. I was just hoping he didn’t try to pull a pitch that was unpullable. Thankfully, he let it get deep. The couple of home runs he hit to right field this week haven’t been cheap.”