MILWAUKEE – When the Twins said they weren't going to call Byron Buxton up until he gets his bat going, they meant it.
And Monday's move, in which he was reinstated from his rehabilitation assignment, activated from the disabled list and optioned to Class AAA Rochester proves that.
What it does do, however, is enable the Twins to call the center fielder up sooner than later if they want to.
Buxton's rehab assignment was set to end Sunday. If they optioned him then, the Twins could not call him up for 10 days unless they had an injury. This way, the Twins have started the 10-day window earlier.
"You do it earlier than later," Molitor said. "We'll see if it pays off in the long run whether he actually gets back here quicker."
Buxton, who hit a leadoff homer on Monday, is batting .217 in 12 games at Rochester. The Twins have repeatedly said they will leave him there until he gets his bat going — and that meant beyond his 20-day rehab.
"We didn't put a timeline on Buxton from Day 1 when we decided to put him on a rehab, which was the right thing," Molitor said. "The move that was made to option him out was kind of just furthering that point."
The move was one of many the Twins made Monday. To make room for Jorge Polanco, fellow infielder Ehire Adrianza was put on the 10-day disabled list because of a strained left hamstring that bothered him recently.
Adrianza hit .324 over the final 22 games in June, and there were indications that he tried to talk his way off the DL. He declined to comment Monday.
"The hard part — I think for him — is that he knows he's swinging the bat well and contributing," Molitor said.
To make room on the 40-man roster for Polanco, the Twins designated outfielder Ryan LaMarre for assignment. He made the club out of spring training and provided reliable defense, but was sent to Rochester on June 24 and could be claimed by another team.
Lefthander Adalberto Mejia, who started Saturday, was sent back to Rochester as well. The Twins called up righthander Zack Littell to provide them an innings eater as the bullpen recovers from a rough three days vs. the Cubs.
Polanco finally back
Polanco spent the first half of the season keeping up from afar as he served an 80-game suspension after testing positive for the performance-enhancing drug stanozolol.
Now he is back with a team that has supported him during a trying period in his career.
"All I wanted to do was come back," he said. "Obviously, sitting at home and not being with my teammates was a difficult process, but that's while I was away and I'm here now."
Molitor didn't waste time inserting Polanco in the starting lineup and batting him fifth. He said it wasn't necessary for Polanco to address teammates before the game. He just asked him to not try to make up for lost time.
"It's good to see him," Molitor said. "He had to pay a price for something that happened, and he took it head-on, took accountability, did his time, so to speak, and he's put the work in."
Polanco spent the time working out at Fort Myers, Fla. He played in a few extended spring training games and worked on sharpening his fielding with minor league instructor Sam Perlozzo.
His work was delayed a few weeks ago when he cut his right middle finger on the door to his apartment in Fort Myers. The finger became infected, and a scar remains.
He played two games with Class A Fort Myers before moving up to Rochester last week. He went 6-for-13 in four games with the Red Wings, encouraging the club to bring him up as soon as his suspension ended. And his teammates are happy to have him back.
"I made sure a lot of guys in here reached out to him [in Florida]," second baseman Brian Dozier said. "That's a tough thing to go through. When you have your brothers in here texting all the time and showing love and support, it makes it a lot easier."
Monday was the first day clubs could sign international free agents who are at least 16 years old. The Twins, according to a source, have struck an $2.75 million agreement with Venezuelan outfielder Misael Urbina, ranked as the 10th-best prospect in the pool.
The Twins also have reached agreements with righthander Jesus Medina and outfielder Alexander Pena, both also from Venezuela. The Twins won't announce the signings until the players pass physicals.
The Twins are one of six clubs with the maximum bonus pool of $6,025,400, and intend to sign several more prospects.