Byron Buxton and Michael Pineda land on IL; C.J. Cron is back

The Twins announced Saturday that outfielder Byron Buxton and starting pitcher Michael Pineda are going on the injured list.

Buxton is back on the IL for the third time in six weeks, this time with a left shoulder subluxation (partially dislocated shoulder). Buxton sustained the injury after crashing into the wall in Miami on Thursday. Buxton previously missed time in June because of a wrist injury after getting hit by a pitch, and in July with concussion-like symptoms after a diving catch in Cleveland. During that IL stint, he also had three wisdom teeth removed.

A shoulder subluxation injury varies in severity, but this type of injury can result in an extended recovery period.  Twins manager Rocco Baldelli told reporters before Saturday’s game against Kansas City that, “we’ll know a lot more in two-plus weeks.”

Pineda is hitting the IL because of a right triceps strain. He pitched well Thursday in Miami, giving up one earned run with three strikeouts in six innings. Over his last six starts, Pineda has a 2.23 ERA and 36 strikeouts in 36 1/3 innings.

The Twins also announced that they optioned left-handed reliever Lewis Thorpe to Triple-A Rochester. Thorpe allowed one run in 1 2/3 innings Friday against Kansas City. He has a 3.18 ERA in the big leagues this year.

To replace Buxton, Pineda, and Thorpe on the active roster, Minnesota activated 1B C.J. Cron, and recalled outfielder Jake Cave and pitcher Zack Littell. The addition of Cron is a big one for the Twins, especially after losing Buxton’s offensive production. On the season, Cron is slashing .263/.320/.494 with 18 home runs.

Cave has been up and down all season, and is currently hitting .193/.320/.301 in the big leagues. He’s been outstanding in Rochester, however, where he sports a .353/.393/.592 line. Littell has also been up and down. In the big leagues, he has a 4.91 ERA. In Rochester, he has a 3.90 ERA. He’s been solid since being moved to relief, and will likely continue in that role moving forward.

With Pineda’s absence, the Twins will need a starter for Tuesday’s game against first-place Atlanta.