KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Adalberto Mondesi, one of the smallest players on the Royals, hit two balls over Byron Buxton’s head on Tuesday, an almost unheard-of feat against the game’s speediest player. Buxton was so intent on preventing the second one, he knocked himself out of the game.
“Once I put my mind to it, I wanted to go get it,” Buxton said. “The ball was moving pretty good but I had already dedicated my mind to go get it so I did what I could.”
Buxton collided with the center field wall while trying to catch Mondesi’s deep fly ball in the eighth inning, and suffered a bruise on his lower back. He felt sore after the game, but felt just as bad about what happened after his near-miss.
The ball struck the wall, glanced off Buxton’s glove on the ricochet, and bounced about 40 feet away, leaving the Twins to scramble to recover it. By the time they did, Mondesi had circled the bases, scoring the go-ahead run with an inside-the-park home run.
“It was [painful],” said Buxton, who was removed from the game after the inning ended. “I was just trying to get the ball back in, trying to find the ball. I just tried to do what I could to make a play.”
It might be a couple of days before he can make another play, because manager Rocco Baldelli said he’s inclined to give the center fielder a day off on Wednesday to make sure he’s recovered. “We’ll see how he progresses, but as of now, we potentially have escaped” serious injury, Baldelli said. “It’s not insignificant. He hit the wall pretty hard. We’ll take a day or two and evaluate him again.”
Buxton downplayed the injury, which was covered by a bandage after the game. “It’s all right. A little stiff,” he said. “Hopefully I’m good tomorrow.”
The play was significant to another Twin, too: When Mondesi crossed home plate, Taylor Rogers’ scoreless streak of 29 1/3 innings, stretching back to last July 28, officially ended.