CLEVELAND – Teams are allowed to use all 40 members of their roster beginning Thursday, and the Twins have wasted no time taking advantage. Byron Buxton, two days after being named the International League’s hitter of the week, will be in uniform at Target Field on Thursday, Rochester manager Mike Quade told reporters after the Red Wings’ 4-3 victory on Wednesday.
Buxton, returned to the minors on Aug. 7, batted .257 in 20 games with the Class AAA team, and hit five home runs. He also struck out 31 times and walked only three.
The Twins are trying not to strip Rochester of players until the Red Wings have been eliminated from contention for the IL wild-card playoff spot, but with outfielder Danny Santana on the disabled list and Robbie Grossman nursing a sore oblique, “we need another body here in the short term,” Molitor said.
Buxton, the second overall pick in the 2012 draft, is the Twins’ best defensive outfielder, but he has a career batting average of .199 and has struck out 124 times in 109 career games.
Santana suffered a Grade 2 sprain of the AC joint atop his left shoulder, manager Paul Molitor said Wednesday, an injury he said “that probably will be anywhere from 4-6 weeks [recovery time], more likely closer to six.” The Twins aren’t ready to rule out a return, but with only 4½ weeks remaining in the season, it appears unlikely.
Nick Gordon’s season at Class A Fort Myers was so impressive, he’s headed to Arizona once it’s over. Gordon, drafted by the Twins with the fifth overall pick in 2014, is one of six Minnesota prospects selected for the Arizona Fall League, MLB’s two-month prospect showcase. The 20-year-old shortstop, who is batting .296 with 31 extra-base hits and 16 stolen bases, will play for the Surprise Saguaros when the AFL season starts Oct. 11.
Joining Gordon in Surprise will be:
• Catcher Mitch Garver, a ninth-round pick in 2013, who batted .264 with 12 homers and 73 RBI at combined stops at Class AA Chattanooga and Class AAA Rochester.
• Outfielder Tanner English, an 11th-round pick in 2014, who missed nearly three months because of a concussion this season but still batted .248 with 10 steals for Class A Fort Myers.
• Lefthander Randy Rosario, who 10 days ago earned a promotion to Chattanooga after posting a 3.34 ERA in 16 starts and five relief appearances at Fort Myers.
• Mason Melotakis, a hard-throwing lefthander whose return this season from Tommy John elbow surgery has produced 41 strikeouts in 32⅓ innings at Chattanooga.
• Righthander John Curtiss, a sixth-round pick in 2014, who had a 2.64 ERA in 42 relief outings at two Class A stops. The former University of Texas righthander struck out 82 in 58 innings.