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Byron Buxton and Josh Donaldson's status uncertain for opening round series

Byron Buxton
Minnesota Twins’ Byron Buxton homers in a baseball game against the Detroit Tigers Tuesday, Sept. 22, 2020, in Minneapolis. (AP Photo/Jim Mone)

Center fielder Byron Buxton and third baseman Josh Donaldson both took part in the Twins’ workout Monday, a day before the team opens its first-round playoff series against the Houston Astros at Target Field. What remains uncertain is whether either will be on the Twins’ roster for the best-of-three series.
“We’re going to hold off on making any sort of calls and, frankly, really even getting into the specifics of each guy until (Tuesday),” Twins manager Rocco Baldelli said on a late afternoon video conference. “We’re not going to be able to discuss it publicly, but we’re going to go through the gamut with those guys. Josh will spend plenty of time in the training room. Buck was able to get out there. Buck also took some swings today. All that went relatively well. But as far as specifics, we’ll probably just wait as we sit down and hash out what this playoff roster is going to look like.”
The  Twins will have to turn in their roster to Major League Baseball in the morning, with first pitch scheduled for 1 p.m. Buxton and Donaldson were both injured in the Twins’ loss to Cincinnati on Friday night. Donaldson experienced cramping in his right calf — a strain in that calf suffered in late July kept him out for half of the 60-game regular season — and was removed before the top of the second inning.
Buxton was hit in the head by a pitch from the Reds’ Lucas Sims in the eighth inning and experienced symptoms consistent with a mild concussion on Saturday, according to Twins president of baseball operations Derek Falvey. Buxton has had at least two previous concussions during his professional baseball career.
Baldelli said the work that Donaldson did on Monday was the first time he has been on the field “moving around,” since he departed on Friday, adding, “It was a relatively good day for both guys but we’re going to hold off on anything firm.”

The loss of Buxton and/or Donaldson for this series would be a major blow for the Twins. Buxton is the best center fielder in the big leagues and Donaldson is able to make the difficult play look routine at third base. Buxton is slashing .254/.267/.577 with 13 homers and 27 RBIs in 39 games this season. He has hit those 13 home runs in 130 at-bats and had eight of them since Sept. 7. Donaldson’s injury-shortened season has been disappointing at the plate. He slashed .222/.373/.469 with six homers and 11 RBIs in 28 games.
The Twins likely would start Marwin Gonzalez at third base against his former team, if Donaldson can’t go. Buxton figures to be replaced by backup outfielder Jake Cave.
“We’re not going to know for sure what our roster is going to look like for a little bit,” Baldelli said. “I know there’s going to be a lot of discussion and rightfully so … especially (about) Buxton and Donaldson. As far as what we’re looking at for (Tuesday) when we set our roster, we’re not going to be able to get into anything because, frankly, we’re still going to be learning more over the second half of today and possibly even the morning.”