When will Byron Buxton hit the field (and can he stay on it)?
2019 was a good year for center fielder Byron Buxton as his bat finally matched up with the rest of his game. With career-highs across the board, Buxton showed the potential that many have been craving for years and if he stays healthy, he could be in for a monster 2020 season.
Then again, there are the magic words. If he stays healthy.
Buxton’s season came to a screeching halt with a torn shoulder labrum in August, but his health was fraying before he went flying into a wall at Marlins Park. After being hit by a pitch in June and suffering a concussion on a diving grab in July, Buxton was in and out of the lineup and the Twins speed on the basepaths and defensive ability were compromised through his absence.
That’s what makes spring training so important for Buxton. After having surgery on his shoulder, his availability for spring training has been up in the air but started swinging a bat last month with a chance he’ll be ready for the first team workout on Feb. 17.
Of course, the Twins would like to have Buxton’s services more this season, so if it takes a couple of weeks, it might not be the worst thing in the world. But having him on the field as soon as possible may allow him to get all the kinks out and figure out better routes in the outfield to avoid high-speed collisions with the ground and the fence.
After Buxton’s impact last year, the Twins need him on the field and the sooner he gets back on it, the sooner that process can begin.