As Byron Buxton prepared to have his left hand X-rayed Thursday, the technicians examining him prepared him for the worst. "The first thing they said was, 'Lot of bones in your hands,' " Buxton said.
So consider it an overdue injury-related stroke of luck for the Twins rookie outfielder that those X-rays found all of those bones intact. Buxton clearly does.
"Very lucky," Buxton said. "I'm glad it wasn't as bad as it looked."
The Twins believe Buxton's hitting isn't as bad as it's looked so far this season, too, but in a results-oriented occupation like baseball, it might not matter. The 22-year-old phenom is 4-for-24 (.167) for the season, with no walks and 13 strikeouts. With David Murphy preparing for a potential call-up to Minnesota later this month, Buxton is a candidate for assignment to the minors if he doesn't start hitting.
"It's not so much that I don't think he can handle it. At some point, you try to figure out what you're going to do to make your team better as a whole," manager Paul Molitor said. "We haven't talked at all about roster moves or anything like that. I know people are starting to suggest it might be imminent with our [1-9] start."
Buxton's attitude hasn't wavered, though, the manager said, even though he's had only two hits in a week. "At some point, you would consider his mental part of the game and how it's affecting him. But I think he's as strong as anybody we have, as far as makeup and being able to handle failure and learning from it," Molitor said. "I had a good chat with him yesterday after the game. [He has] a lot of frustration with the injuries. It's emotional for him, the fact that at times the game gets taken away by things he can't control."
Molitor can relate to that. He missed virtually the entire 1984 season and was plagued with injuries throughout his career. "I know what it's like, so I try to extend a few [observations] in that regard to him yesterday," he said. "We're seeing progress. It's just a matter of him trying to get some results so he feels a little bit better about his offensive game."
Buxton hit off a tee and did some flip drills in the batting cage on Friday and reported his bruised hand still stings. But it shouldn't be more than a day or two until he returns, he said, and he came in on defense in the ninth inning of Friday's game.
Abad on leave
Lefthander Fernando Abad left the Twins after receiving word that his grandmother had died in the Dominican Republic.
He will be placed on the bereavement list Saturday, General Manager Terry Ryan said, and a relief pitcher will be summoned from Class AAA Rochester to fill his spot for two days. Abad is scheduled to return Monday morning, Ryan said.
• Both the Twins and Angels wore red jerseys Friday, a mix-up caused indirectly by the tradition of all players wearing No. 42 on Jackie Robinson Day. As the home team (which designates which uniform they will wear first), the Twins informed the Angels and Majestic, manufacturer of the teams' uniforms, that they planned to wear red (as they plan to all home Fridays). But the Angels, who frequently wear solid red on the road, also asked for red jerseys, and Majestic didn't catch the red-vs.-red matchup. By the time Majestic noticed this week, it was too late to provide gray No. 42 uniforms for the entire team, so MLB decided to allow the teams to wear similar jerseys, though the Twins wore white pants and the Angels gray
• The Twins held their annual Welcome Back luncheon Friday for boosters and sponsors, a meeting made a little awkward by the team's record-breaking start. "It was a good crowd. Understanding, I think, [but] not content," Ryan said. "It's a little difficult facing the people you're trying to play for right now."