The Minnesota Twins outfielder continues to battle a shoulder injury which may restrict him to the outfield and pinch-running for the rest of 2019.
The blows keep coming for the Minnesota Twins, who have seen suspensions and injuries throw a wrench into their plans for a postseason push. Even though Byron Buxton was activated from the injured list with the first wave of September call-ups, he has yet to make an at-bat for the Twins after suffering a left shoulder subluxation on Aug. 1.
Initially, there was some hope that Buxton’s injury would continue to heal and by the time the Twins needed him in the lineup, he could return and make the impact the lineup has missed during his time on the shelf, but according to The Athletic’s Dan Hayes, that doesn’t seem to be the case.
After suffering a setback in his recovery on a rehab assignment last month, Buxton’s shoulder may be too damaged for him to swing a bat for the rest of the season. Pending a trip to see a shoulder specialist in California this week, that could mean that Buxton is limited to pinch-running and late-game defensive replacement duty for the remainder of the 2019 season.
This would be a big blow for the Twins as Buxton’s bat had finally started to come around this year. If Buxton doesn’t make an at-bat for the rest of the year, it will still be a good season for Buxton at the plate as he set career-highs in batting average (.262), slugging percentage (.513) and OPS (.827). He also showed an uptick in power, hitting 10 home runs and 30 doubles, which at the time of his injury, led the American League.
Without Buxton’s bat in the lineup, it would put more pressure on the rest of the team to keep up their frantic pace. The Twins have already set the major league record for home runs in a season (which is at 275 and counting), but Buxton’s speed also helped them top MLB with 5.83 runs per game.
The latest development with Buxton’s shoulder is a bad one, but not a crippling one as the Twins have other outfielders such as Jake Cave, Max Kepler and Eddie Rosario, who have been crucial to Minnesota’s playoff hopes. If the Twins have to weather this storm, at least their depth should be able to help them through it.