Buxton deal appears close

  • Article by: JOE CHRISTENSEN , Star Tribune
  • Updated: June 10, 2012 - 11:02 PM
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The Twins have had some tough negotiations with first-round picks over the years, but they are already close to signing Byron Buxton, the No. 2 overall pick in last week’s draft, his agent confirmed Sunday.

Photo: Damen Jackson, Associated Press

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The Twins have had some tough negotiations with first-round picks over the years, but they are already close to signing Byron Buxton, the No. 2 overall pick in last week's draft, his agent confirmed Sunday.

Buxton is scheduled to fly to Minnesota on Monday and take his physical Tuesday. The sides are expected to continue talking Monday, and agent Al Goetz said those talks are "just formalities." A Twins official also said the sides were close to a deal.

Three years ago, the Twins didn't get first-round pick Kyle Gibson signed until moments before the mid-August deadline. The deadline has been moved up to July 13, but the Twins look like they will beat that by a month.

Baseball's recommended slot bonus for the No. 2 pick is $6.2 million, but the No. 1 overall pick, shortstop Carlos Correa, agreed to a $4.8 million bonus with the Astros, well below the $7.2 million slot. Goetz declined to say how Buxton's deal will compare to the slot number, but he talked about how excited the outfielder -- who won a Georgia state championship this month for Appling County High School -- is to begin his professional career.

"He's a special kid; I can tell you that," Goetz said. "You guys are going to love him."

The Twins have signed 12 of this year's picks, including second-rounder Mason Melotakis, fourth-rounder Zach Jones and sixth-rounder Andre Martinez. They are also making progress with Jose Berrios (supplemental round, No. 32 overall), among others.

Hendriks coming soon?

Liam Hendriks had a dominant performance for Class AAA Rochester on Saturday, firmly establishing himself as the favorite to join the Twins starting rotation for Saturday's start against Milwaukee.

Hendriks held Indianapolis (Pirates) to three hits over 8 2/3 shutout innings, with two walks and 10 strikeouts.

"The outfielders did not field a ball," manager Ron Gardenhire said. "I don't know if I've ever heard that before. Pretty good."

Gardenhire said no decision has been made about Saturday's start, mentioning Jeff Manship as another possibility. Cole De Vries has to spend 10 days in the minors after his recent demotion, and he gave up six runs over two innings Sunday in his return to Rochester.

Hendriks threw 124 pitches against Indianapolis, so the extra rest would probably help him heading into Saturday's start. After going 0-2 with a 9.00 ERA in four starts for the Twins earlier this season, Hendriks is 5-0 with a 1.94 ERA in seven starts for Rochester.

When the Twins promoted De Vries ahead of Hendriks last month, the team said it didn't believe Hendriks was commanding his fastball well enough.

"You could see, he was lost the last outing that he had up here [April 15]," Gardenhire said. "He was screaming at himself in the dugout, and basically, he needed to take it easy and go down and get some confidence. Right now it sounds like he's got it. We'll see."

Diamond note

According to the Elias Sports Bureau, Scott Diamond's 1.61 ERA is the lowest ever for a Twins rookie through seven starts in a season. The previous low was Francisco Liriano's 1.64 ERA in 2006.

Diamond opened the year at Rochester, going 4-1 with a 2.60 ERA in six starts.

"This is a good story," Gardenhire said. "Go down and get it done and be the guy, and that's what he did."

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