MINNEAPOLIS — Byron Buxton was not in the starting lineup for a second consecutive day Sunday after suffering a bruised right wrist in the sixth inning Friday when he was hit by a pitch from Kansas City’s Brad Keller.
Twins manager Rocco Baldelli said before the Twins’ 8-6 loss that the speedy center fielder is “doing fine,” adding, “we’re going to be always relatively conservative with him.” Part of the issue, according to Baldelli, is that Buxton’s desire to play makes him a less-than-reliable source when it comes to being truthful about how his wrist feels.
“We’re not going to force him back,” Baldelli said. “He really likes to play and he will probably say whatever he has to say to get back in the lineup, even if he is not physically OK to play. You respect that because he’s there for the team and his teammates, and everything. But sometimes I might have to, the training staff might have to, coaching staff might have to slow him down a little bit.”
Baldelli said that Buxton could have played Sunday, but instead Max Kepler got the start in center field for the second consecutive day. “If we needed him to play, if this were a different kind of situation, if we weren’t in the middle of June, he might be out there playing,” Baldelli said. “But we’re going to slow him down a little bit and see how he’s doing in another day, two days.”
The Twins’ biggest concern about Buxton is his ability to swing the bat without discomfort after he took Keller’s pitch off his wrist. Buxton remained in the game until the bottom of the eighth when Marwin Gonzalez pinch-hit for him.
“I’m not 100 percent sure he’s going to be swinging today,” Baldelli said. “He might be. But it’s not something … it’s a day-to-day situation. So, we’re going to find this out as the day goes on. I don’t know if he’s in the training room right now getting treatment, but he’s going to get a lot of treatment. He’s going to get it worked on.”