CHICAGO – Byron Buxton returned to the Twins on Wednesday, but not the way they had hoped.
The plan was for the center fielder to rejoin the lineup after recovering from a left shoulder subluxation, but Buxton felt discomfort Sunday and Tuesday while swinging at bat, forcing the club to halt his minor league rehabilitation assignment at Class A Cedar Rapids and travel to Chicago to be checked out by the training staff.
“It’s just something you know you don’t feel right when you’re swinging,” Buxton said.
The Twins hope taking a couple extra days to treat the shoulder will allow it to heal enough for him to get back on track toward returning to the Twins lineup.
“I think best-case scenario, Buck resumes his rehab and we give it a little more time and he’s able to come back and be his typical self and go to the Buck things that he does out there,” Twins manager Rocco Baldelli said. “But I think there are also a lot of other scenarios where even if he’s not 100 percent, at some point he could still come back and really help us.”
Buxton has not played since Aug. 1, when he collided with the wall at Marlins Park while chasing a deep drive. Buxton said his recovery had gone smoothly until he felt something in his shoulder Sunday during his third at-bat for Cedar Rapids. He said he felt he needed to alert the club of his condition, leading to the decision to give him more time to let the shoulder settle down.
It means he has to show a little more patience, which is something he doesn’t have a lot of these days.
“It’s frustrating,” Buxton said, “but I wanted to come up here and be with these guys, kind of take my mind off of it a little bit.”
Max Kepler was a late scratch from Tuesday’s lineup because of a sore right knee. It’s the same knee he injured in May when he crashed into the wall while chasing a fly ball. It has flared up on him a few times since then. Jake Cave replaced Kepler in the outfield while batting ninth. And this comes after Eddie Rosario returned to the lineup after sitting out three games because of a tight right hamstring. Getting their first-choice outfield on the field has been a challenge for the Twins this month.
Marwin Gonzalez was seen with his midsection wrapped up before Wednesday’s game, a day after leaving a game because of soreness in his oblique/abdomen area. He was not available off the bench and it is not known when he will be. Baldelli said the club was waiting for test results to come back.
AFL rosters announced
The Twins are sending their top two prospects to the Arizona Fall League this offseason.
Shortstop Royce Lewis and outfielder Alex Kirilloff will both participate in the league, which begins Sept. 18 and runs until late October. Lewis, ranked as the seventh-best prospect in the game, and Kirilloff, ranked 16th, are two of the top three highest-ranked prospects selected to play in the league.
Lewis struggled early at Class A Fort Myers but eventually earned a promotion to Class AA Pensacola, batting .246 with a homer and 13 RBI there through 20 games. Kirilloff began the season at Pensacola but was slowed by an injury that has limited him to 91 games. He’s batting .281 with nine home runs and 41RBI.
Righthanders Dakota Chalmers and Moises Gomez and lefthanders Jovani Moran and Zach Neff also will represent the Twins at the AFL. The Twins also must provide a catcher to be named later. All Twins prospects will play for the Salt River Rafters.