Byron Buxton doubled in his first at-bat Sunday for the Class A Cedar Rapids Kernels, then walked and struck out. The shoulder injury that has kept him out of action for a month showed no signs of bothering him.
Then again, he didn’t play the outfield.
Before serving as designated hitter on the first day of his injury rehab assignment at Cedar Rapids, Buxton said he intends to play “smarter” about pursuing fly balls that he can’t get to — but that doesn’t mean he intends to give any less effort, out of fear of injury, on those he can.
“Nobody plays the game the way I do, so why am I going to alter it? I like to go make plays, and nobody is going to change who I am,” Buxton told Iowa reporters before the Kernels’ 9-5 loss to Peoria, in which they gave up nine runs in the top of the ninth. “Obviously, some balls at the wall, I’ve got to be a little bit smarter, but if you take [running all-out] away from me, that’s not who I am.”
Buxton has not played since Aug. 1, when he suffered a mild dislocation of his left shoulder joint when he crashed into the wall at Miami. How long does he expect to remain in Cedar Rapids, where he helped the Kernels post the Midwest League’s best record (88-50) in 2013?
“Obviously, if I could go back today, I would,” Buxton said. “Probably in a couple of days.”