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Scary moment: Byron Buxton departs after getting hit in helmet by Reds reliever

Byron Buxton
Minnesota Twins’ Byron Buxton lies on the ground after being hit by a pitch from Cincinnati Reds’ Lucas Sims during the eighth inning of a baseball game Friday, Sept. 25, 2020, in Minneapolis. (AP Photo/Jim Mone)

MINNEAPOLIS — Center fielder Byron Buxton left the Twins’ game against the Reds on Friday night at Target Field after taking a 92-mile-per-hour fastball off the helmet while leading off the eighth inning against righthanded reliever Lucas Sims. Buxton had a 2-0 count when he was hit.
Buxton stayed down in the batter’s box for a few minutes after getting hit by the pitch as manager Rocco Baldelli and a member of the Twins’ athletic training staff checked on him. Buxton eventually got up and was put through a quick on-field examination before departing. Baldelli said Buxton tried to stay in the game, but Jake Cave was brought in to pinch run for him with the Twins trailing 4-2 in what became a 7-2 loss. Sims was upset with himself after hitting Buxton and also was removed as reliever Raisel Iglesias entered.
The Twins labeled Buxton’s injury as a head contusion. He also was undergoing concussion tests but there was no immediate word on those. The Twins have two games remaining in the regular season and will open the playoffs on Tuesday. It would not be surprising if Buxton sits out Saturday and Sunday.

The Twins also lost third baseman Josh Donaldson in the second inning of Friday’s game when he departed because of cramping in his right calf. Donaldson has dealt with calf issues in recent years and missed substantial time earlier this season because of a right calf strain.
“I don’t know that anything that happened today is going to be something that keeps our guys off the field for very long,” Baldelli said. “(We’ll) stay on the careful side for the rest of the regular season. I think that’s a possibility, too. I don’t know enough about either Josh or Buck right now to say anything. … We would love to have our group out there on the field and playing over the next couple of days, obviously. We’re still playing. Hopefully, we’ll play to win the division as well. But the health of our players is going to come first and foremost and trying to get ready for the playoffs as well. It’s a balance, as we’ve said, amongst all those things, but we’re going to evaluate them first and start there.”
Buxton has made frequent trips to the injured list during his career and was on it earlier this season because of inflammation in his left shoulder. Buxton suffered a mid-left foot sprain during the team’s summer camp as well.
Buxton previously has had concussion issues. He was placed on the concussion list in July of last season after making a diving catch in Cleveland. Buxton suffered a concussion in 2014 in his first game with the Twins’ Double-A affiliate when he collided with right fielder Mike Kvasnicka. Buxton was down for approximately 10 minutes and was taken off the field in an ambulance.
Baldelli said the quick concussion test that Buxton was given before he left the field was standard procedure. “Those are the tests that they’re going to run through,” Baldelli said, “whether a guy is perfectly fine, or dealing with something, he’s going to have to go through those on the spot on the field but also inside as well with our medical staff. I can’t comment on where Buck is at at this moment as far as how he’s feeling. I haven’t talked to him yet, but we know that he’s getting looked at and we’re going to give him the full up and down before we have anything to (announce). On the field, he was looking at us and he’s a competitive guy and was frustrated when I told him I think he should come out of the game.”