Byron Buxton didn't even want the trainers to look at his hand.
He took a pitch square off the back of his left hand and jumped at the impact, trying to shake off the sting as he jogged to first base. He was convincing enough to stay in the game beyond that fourth inning HBP. But by the sixth, he was done. And he'll likely stay out of the game for a while.
Twins manager Rocco Baldelli announced postgame that Buxton has a boxer's fracture, so named for usually occurring from throwing a punch. Buxton's pinky finger is broken at the neck and could keep him out of the Twins lineup for around a month.
All this after he had already missed 40 games from a hip strain. Monday's 7-5 victory against Cincinnati was just his third game back since May 6.
"I feel immensely for him and what he's going through," Baldelli said. "This is very tough on anyone. We were talking about rollercoasters, rollercoasters of emotions and having to deal with things. No one should have to deal with what Buck is dealing with right now, and none of it's through any fault of his own. He's the most upstanding, hard-working, wonderful teammate and baseball player that you could find."
The Twins will make an official roster move Tuesday morning, likely sending Buxton back to the injured list and calling up Gilberto Celestino, who has already filled in for an injury-depleted outfield this season.
Buxton was the American League Player of the Month for April, when he hit .426 with 14 RBI, eight home runs and eight doubles while also making sensational diving and at-the-wall catches in center field.
In his brief injury return, he had four hits, including a double and a home run while helping the team to a current five-game win streak. He had just made an inning-ending catch in the outfield before exiting the game Monday, clearly wincing. X-rays during the game revealed the severity of his hand injury.
"He is so tough, and he's willing to literally play with just about anything," Baldelli said. "He would have to not be able to walk for him to come out and say, 'I can't play.' The words never come out of his mouth. … He was in immense pain on the field after getting hit by that pitch, and I think anyone, including him, had to know if you're feeling something like that, it might not be a good situation. He doesn't react to pain. He just goes out there and keeps playing.
"This isn't fair," Baldelli continued. "That's how I feel about the whole thing."