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The hits just keep on coming: Byron Buxton suffers hip strain in Twins’ latest loss to Rangers

MLB: Texas Rangers at Minnesota Twins
May 4, 2021; Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA; Minnesota Twins center fielder Byron Buxton (25) hits a two-run home run in the first inning against the Texas Rangers at Target Field. Mandatory Credit: Jesse Johnson-USA TODAY Sports

Byron Buxton has been the Twins’ best player this season, but he hasn’t been able to avoid the injury issues that have plagued his career. Buxton suffered his latest injury on Thursday afternoon when he strained his hip in the Twins’ 4-3, 10-inning loss to Texas at Target Field.

Buxton pulled up as he reached first base in the ninth inning after hitting a ground ball to third baseman Charlie Culberson. Buxton was out by a step and replaced by Jake Cave in center field to start the 10th inning. Buxton missed four games earlier this season because of a right hamstring strain. The Twins announced that Buxton is day-to-day, but is likely to miss time and could end up on the 10-day injured list.

The Twins lost three of four at home to the Rangers and fell to 11-19 on the season.

Buxton is slashing .370/.408/.772 with nine home runs and 17 RBIs in 24 games this season after going 1-for-5 on Thursday with a run and stolen base. There was some thought Buxton might have been slightly hobbled earlier in the game but continued to play.

“I can’t say when it happened, but guys do play through things a lot,” Twins manager Rocco Baldelli said. “Guys are tough and they go out there and play through injuries and that’s part of the game. But there are times where you see something, you check on a guy, he says he’s fine. Buck says he’s fine a lot, so you have to respect the player, too. But obviously this was something he couldn’t run through.”

Baldelli said Buxton hadn’t been slowed since returning from his hamstring injury on April 20 in Oakland. “There have been times very recently where Buck’s been flying around the field and looked uninhibited while doing it,” Baldelli said.

Buxton provided the Twins with a scare in the seventh inning when he jumped at the fence to try to rob Jonah Heim of a home run that tied the score 3-3. Buxton came down hard on the warning track after running into the fence in front of the bullpen but Baldelli said that wasn’t an issue.

“Really, nothing came of it,” he said. “Obviously, he’s going up against the wall but he was under control when he did it, picked himself up off the ground and kept going. Anytime there’s any kind of contact, any kind of collision, anything like that, we check on our guys to make sure they’re fine. There was no concern. I think it’s more of an issue that comes up when Buck’s running and that’s when he felt it.”

In addition to the hamstring, Buxton was sidelined briefly very early in the season because of a non-COVID related illness.