CHICAGO – The Twins have not established a timetable for Byron Buxton to return to any sort of game action, which suggests that he might need more than a couple of days for his shoulder to fully heal.
While taking daily treatment for his injured shoulder, the sidelined center fielder will remain as active as he can. For instance, he will take part in outfield drills before Friday’s game in Detroit.
“We are primarily focused right now on strengthening and stabilizing his shoulder,” Twins General Manager Thad Levine said Thursday. “He’s clearly disappointed that this didn’t progress a little bit faster, but the reality is when we had the initial diagnosis from the doctors, they really put us in the four-ish-week mark, which we’re not even quite there yet, so I think we’re always trained to believe that these things aren’t quite linear, that they always tend to have a little bit of a sidestep somewhere.
“He’s experienced a sidestep so we’re taking one step back.”
Buxton attempted to return from a left shoulder subluxation last weekend during a minor league rehabilitation stint at Class A Cedar Rapids but felt pain in his shoulder while swinging a bat Sunday. Then he felt more pain when he swung before a game Tuesday. That’s when the decision was made to scratch him from the game and have him see the Twins’ training staff in Chicago.
“We’re going to wait and see after the next couple of days, see how he’s feeling, then we’ll get him back out there,” Twins manager Rocco Baldelli said. “We’ll probably see him on the field running around a little bit. He’ll still be taking part in a bunch of baseball activities that will be going on out here. But as far as any sort of game situations, I don’t think we’re going to commit to any dates right now.”
Once Buxton can swing a bat without pain, he likely will head out to play in minor league games. Cedar Rapids has qualified for the Midwest League playoffs, so he might head back there.
Teams can call up any player on their 40-man roster in September, so the Twins have been discussing what the roster will look like as soon as Sunday.
“We’ve been spending a lot of time on it,” Baldelli said. “I would say it would be a fairly extensive list of names. I’ve said this before, I don’t think in September, when you’re playing meaningful games, they should be shorthanded.”
The Twins, however, won’t be able to flood their roster with call-ups right away. They might add a couple of players Sunday against the Tigers, with the rest coming after Class AAA Rochester’s season ends Tuesday.
Many of the pitchers fans have seen during the season — like righthanders Zack Littell, Kohl Stewart and Ryne Harper and lefthanders Lewis Thorpe and Devin Smeltzer — will be back.
“Having yourself covered in every possible way is important,” Baldelli said. “But there are a lot of variables that go into it as far as who and when and how it all is going to take place. We have a lot of if-then type of scenarios, where there are a lot of things that can happen between now and September 1st, or September 3rd, which I think would be the first day after the Triple-A season ends.”
The Twins have an idea of who they want in September, but injuries could affect those decisions.
“As far as where we are sitting right now, I don’t think the names have changed much in our minds from a few days ago ‘til now,” Baldelli said, “but things do change, and you never know what is going to happen today and certainly what goes on over the next few days could affect who’s arriving on the first.”
• The Florida State League on Thursday announced that the remainder of the regular season and the entire postseason was being canceled because of the approaching Hurricane Dorian. Consequently, the Twins are moving all of their players and staff from their year-round facility in Fort Myers.
• In addition to the seven players being sent to Arizona Fall League action next month, Class A Fort Myers pitching coach Luis Ramirez and Fort Myers trainer Ben Myers will join them on the Salt River Rafters.
• Class AAA Rochester manager Joel Skinner will join the Twins coaching staff after the Red Wings season ends on Tuesday.