The Twins opened summer camp comforted by knowing that outfielder Byron Buxton’s left shoulder had enough time during the shutdown to heal and that he would be available for the delayed Opening Day.
But now his foot injury on Monday might force them to reconsider that.
Buxton was carted off the field during an intrasquad scrimmage Monday after injuring his left foot while closing in on a fly ball.
The Twins announced moments after the play that Buxton had suffered a left foot injury and was being taken for imaging exams.
“We took Byron inside to get looked at by the medical staff,” Twins manager Rocco Baldelli said. “Fortunately, relatively speaking, the initial once-over didn’t show anything, which I take as a cautiously optimistic good sign. But we’re going to go ahead and do a lot of other assessments and imaging tonight and tomorrow just to see what we can find and go from there.
“That’s probably what you’re hoping to see, but we also know that any time a guy is coming off the field — and you want to make sure he’s not walking off the field — we’re going to make sure we get him a full look over by the medical staff.”
Nelson Cruz was batting against Jose Berrios when Cruz sent a deep drive to center. Buxton went back on the ball and had plenty of time to make the catch, but a breeze coming in from center forced him to change direction back toward home plate. As soon as that occurred he sat down on the grass and assistant trainer Matt Biancuzzo rushed toward him.
After a few minutes, Buxton was helped to a cart, hopping on his right leg while trainers held his left leg.
“Obviously, we don’t want to see things like that,” Berrios said. “Hopefully, he’s doing well. I heard he got something in his left foot, but we don’t know yet what he’s got.”
Baldelli said the rest of the intrasquad game wasn’t the same after the injury.
“It’s not always easy to just refocus on the game,” he said. “One of your friends, one of your teammates is going through something that everyone knows is difficult.”
Unfortunately for the Twins, they have experienced those feelings about Buxton since 2014, when he played in only 31 games mostly because of a left wrist injury, but he suffered a concussion along the way, too.
The last two seasons have been particularly challenging. In 2018, he played in only 28 games due to a migraine in April, then a broken left big toe suffered while fouling a ball off his foot during a rehabilitation assignment following the migraine. The Twins also didn’t call him up in September of that year, which pushed back his free agency a year.
Last season, he spent time on the injured list for a right wrist contusion, a concussion, then a left shoulder injury in August that required season-ending surgery.