Byron Buxton fought the wall, and the wall won. Again.
The Twins center fielder will miss at least two weeks, the Twins announced Saturday, after doctors determined that his full-speed crash into the Marlins Stadium wall Thursday caused a slight dislocation of the joint in his left shoulder. The condition, known as subluxation, will require several days for the soreness to recede, and some time for rehabilitation, too, so the Twins put the outfielder on the injured list and recalled Jake Cave from Class AAA Rochester.
"We'll know a lot more in two-plus weeks," manager Rocco Baldelli said of Buxton's injury, which occurred as he tried unsuccessfully to catch Harold Ramirez's second-inning triple.
It's the third time in six weeks that Buxton has been sidelined by injury. A wrist injury suffered when he was hit by a pitch kept him out for two weeks in June, and concussion-like symptoms that occurred after he dove for a line drive cost him 11 days in July. Buxton has also been shaken up by run-ins with outfield walls a couple of times this season, and he has been out of the starting lineup 31 times over the season's first 109 games.
But Baldelli has no plans to tell Buxton to play any differently, to pursue fly balls any less aggressively. The Twins have worked with the 25-year-old to be better aware of his surroundings, but "the reason these things happen is he does things on the field that no one else does. He moves very fast, he has no fear, he goes out there to make plays that nobody else in baseball can make," Baldelli said. "And sometimes because of that he puts himself at risk."
Coming to play
C.J. Cron knows about playing all-out, too. Even when maybe he shouldn't.
"Our job is play. That's what we get paid to do," Cron said Saturday, shortly after being informed he was in the lineup for the first time since July 20. "I feel like I owe it to my teammates to be out there and try my best. I was going to play until they told me I wasn't."
That's what it came down to, actually. Cron was placed on the IL July 6 because of inflammation in his right thumb, returned on July 16, and lasted only five games before the Twins determined that his thumb hadn't healed enough.
"I was trying to change my grip. I was trying to add things to my bat, and to my gloves, to reduce the vibrations. Stuff like that," Cron said. 'I would never put myself on the [injured list] unless something's broken."
This time, Cron is sure he is fully healed. A cortisone injection last week helped a lot, he said, and a couple of minor league games in Florida this week confirmed it.
"This might be a chronic sort of issue. It's not something that just goes away," Baldelli said. "But we gave him ample time to recover. He feels better and we think he's ready to play."
A breather on IL
The Twins pitching staff has been mostly healthy this year, but the team is being particularly careful with Michael Pineda as he returns from elbow surgery. So when Pineda complained of mild discomfort in his pitching arm during his start Thursday, the Twins chose to take no chances. He was removed from the game after throwing only 80 pitches, and Saturday, he was placed on the injured list for the second time this season with a diagnosis of strained triceps.
"We didn't want to push anything, even though he was throwing the ball really well [on Thursday]. It was more of an odd, slightly uncomfortable feeling, than it was any sort of acute injury. More of like a feeling in his muscle that we wanted to make sure was OK," Baldelli said. "He said he was good to pitch. We needed to make sure he was OK."
Pineda isn't expected to be out long, but he will miss his next scheduled start, Tuesday vs. Atlanta.
After sending down lefthander Lewis Thorpe following Friday's game, the Twins recalled righthander Zack Littell from Rochester for the fourth time this season. Littell has a 4.91 ERA in 18⅓ innings.