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Twins forced to sit Byron Buxton for Game 2, Alex Kirilloff to make big-league debut

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)

MINNEAPOLIS — Facing elimination in Game 2 of their first-round playoff series against Houston, the Twins will be without center fielder Byron Buxton. Buxton, the best center fielder in the big leagues and a difference-maker in the Twins lineup when he’s healthy, is “not at 100 percent,” according to manager Rocco Baldelli.
Buxton returned to the lineup in the Twins’ 4-1 loss to the Astros on Tuesday after being hit in the head by a pitch on Friday and experiencing concussion symptoms. Buxton went 1-for-4 with a first-inning single but then struck out three times. Buxton is no stranger to concussions having suffered one when he collided with a teammate in the outfield while playing Double-A and then suffering another one last season while diving head first for a ball in Cleveland.
Baldelli did not provide any specifics on what’s wrong with Buxton.
With Buxton out of the lineup, Max Kepler will move from right field to center and Alex Kirilloff will make his big-league debut in right field after being added to the Twins’ playoff roster on Tuesday morning. Kepler played two games in center field this season after appearing in 60 games at the position in 2019.