One benefit of being a baseball beat writer is that you can arrive at the park around 2 p.m. before a 7 p.m. start and be nosy.

At that time, there's always a group of players on the field getting in extra work, trying to get better.

Eventually, Byron Buxton will appear in the outfield for early afternoon fly ball shagging. Buxton has not done any outfield work since the season began. When that happens we'll have our first hint that he's preparing to leave his role as the designated hitter and bring his Platinum Glove-level defense to center field.

The Twins have been cautious with the oft-injured Buxton, who last played 140 games in a season in 2017 — when Wolves star Anthony Edwards was 15. Buxton is coming off knee surgery last year, so they want to keep him in the lineup as much as possible.

But first baseman Alex Kirilloff, who is working his way back from a second wrist surgery last season, is getting close to a return. He entered Tuesday batting .346 over his first seven games for Class AAA St. Paul. If he continues to produce for another two to three weeks for the Saints, then the Twins will consider bringing him up.

And that would also signal that it's time for Buxton to return to the outfield to open the DH spot for Kirilloff or Trevor Larnach. Or to give a break to someone else from playing in the field.

Buxton is using just three of his five tools — hit, hit for power and run. The other two are throwing and fielding. When Buxton has all five of his tools working, he's a problem for opponents. He's making spectacular catches in the outfield. He's throwing runners out — or keeping them from even thinking about advancing a base.

The injury risk certainly increases once he takes the field. But the reward is that the Twins are an even better team.

This is about putting the best version of the Twins on the field, and that version is possible with Buxton in center field and Kirilloff in the lineup somewhere. Kirilloff can hit. He can help a Twins offense that can use any bat it can get. This is what the Twins should be working toward.

Based on what a couple of team officials said Monday, the Twins are not in a hurry to have Buxton play defense. Because the Buxton Rules are working.

Buxton has played in 27 of the Twins' 30 games. He's batting .257 with seven homers — tied for ffifth in the American League — and 17 RBI. He's on pace for 603 plate appearances and more than 40 home runs. He had 382 plate appearances last season.

Buxton has been healthy, and the Twins feel the chance that he can complete a healthy season increases the longer they hold off on moving him to the outfield. The 17-12 Twins are scoring more runs of late. If you look at FanGraphs WAR, the four most valuable Twins have been Buxton, Joey Gallo, Michael A. Taylor and Larnach — with a now healthy Jorge Polanco catching up.

Gallo, manager Rocco Baldelli recently said, is playing excellent defense at first, and he has seven home runs. Taylor, who likely would hit the bench when Buxton is in center, is ranked among the top five center fielders.

It is understandable that both Buxton and the Twins don't want to mess with a good thing. Keeping him out of the outfield is the way to get him into more games.

Eventually, the Twins have to let one of the best all-around players in baseball be just that. They are watching Kirilloff over the next two weeks to see if the Buxton Rules need amending.

We will know when the decision has been made because Buxton will appear on the field one early afternoon to chase down fly balls.