BOSTON – Byron Buxton stepped onto the Fenway Park field for the first time Thursday.
He worked on reading balls hit off the Green Monster to become familiar with the tricky caroms. He ran around the outfield in the venerable old stadium, taking in history with each step.
“That was pretty amazing,” he said, “just to go out there and see Fenway Park. A beautiful stadium. There’s some [all-time greats] who [have played] here.”
But Buxton’s first official start at Fenway had to wait because of his latest slump.
Before Thursday’s 13-2 loss to the Red Sox, Buxton was in a 1-for-15 skid with one walk and nine strikeouts — enough for manager Paul Molitor to keep him out of the lineup against Boston knuckleballer Steven Wright. Well, that and the fact that Buxton went 0-for-3 with two strikeouts against Wright on June 10 at Target Field.
With Buxton’s batting average down to .199 on Thursday, Molitor is prepared to sit out Buxton from time to time.
“He’s just part of a group of players that doesn’t get to play quite every day right now,” Molitor said. “He’s [still] getting a lot of playing time. I think he’s working on his swing. We all know that, offensively, he’s been having a little bit of a struggle more so lately, for me. [We need him] putting the ball in play, squaring balls up.”
Boshers is back
When lefthander Buddy Boshers was sent to Class AAA Rochester on July 4, he had a 1.38 ERA in 15 games with the Twins. The move didn’t make sense, but the Twins needed to clear roster space for righthander Trevor May, who was coming off the disabled list.
“I understood the situation,” Boshers said. “It is what it is.”
Boshers was recalled Sunday after the club sent righthander Neil Ramirez to Rochester. He returns with a lot of confidence, because his previous numbers suggest his stuff is good enough to get major league hitters out and the changeup he added in spring training can be effective against righthanded hitters.
“It was a sigh of relief to get another opportunity,” he said. “Hopefully this time it will stick.”
Boshers entered Thursday’s game in the fifth inning with the Twins already trailing 7-2, then gave up two more runs on three hits in 1⅓ innings.
While Ramirez was used to eat up innings, Boshers could be used in matchups against lefthanded hitters. Boston will throw several of them at the Twins in this four-game series.
“In this series and against a lot of clubs, that third lefthander can be important,” Molitor said. “We got a nice balance out there right and left.”
Rod Carew is a busy man. He was in San Diego on July 12 for the All-Star Game. He was at Target Field last weekend for Twins Hall of Fame weekend. On Thursday, Carew and his Heart of 29 campaign were recognized by the Red Sox before the game. He looked odd wearing a Red Sox jersey while throwing out the first pitch.
Both teams wore Heart of 29 patches on their uniforms in honor of the campaign. Carew, who is set to be placed on a waiting list for a new heart, suffered a heart attack in September while playing golf.
Carew will leave Boston and head to Cooperstown, N.Y., for Hall of Fame weekend, where Ken Griffey Jr. and Mike Piazza will be inducted.
Add the Orioles to the list of teams that are watching Twins righthander Ervin Santana. Baltimore, which is in need of pitching, had a scout at each of his past two starts. The Rangers also have recently scouted Santana.