Byron Buxton injury could open the door for a top prospect to make the roster

We're all hoping for the best, but the Twins have options in the event Byron Buxton misses some time.

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It took less than a few months for things to come back around to the most troubling part of the Byron Buxton cycle.

After emphatically declaring that he was back from injury this winter, Buxton was scratched from Monday's lineup with lower back tightness. It's yet to be seen how serious the injury is, but it's undoubtedly a massive setback.

Buxton didn't play a single inning in the field at the MLB level last year, instead struggling through injuries and slumps as the Twins' designated hitter. He was eventually shut down near the end of the season, although he came off the bench for an ill-fated pinch hit appearance in Game 4 of the ALDS.

The hype train hasn't been completely derailed, but Buxton already needing to be scratched from the lineup before Opening Day has even arrived is less than ideal. Minnesota has contigency plans in place, though, and this latest setback could open the door back up for a top prospect to make an impact.

Byron Buxton injury could open the door for a top prospect

For most of the winter it seemed like there were more ways Austin Martin made the 26-man roster than he didn't, but things changed pretty quickly last month.

Minnesota traded for Manuel Margot to serve as platoon depth with Buxton in centerfield, a role that we all thought might be earmarked for Martin. With Margot's arrival, the roster spot Martin was fighting for got filled, but this latest development with Buxton might open up another lane for him to get back in the mix.

It's worth noting that Buxton hasn't been placed on the IL and this injury scare might not end up coming to that. Martin's path is more connected to how we've heard this song before and that it's never just one injury concern for Buxton, it usually means trouble is brewing on the horizon.

Martin would be a shoo-in for an Opening Day roster spot of Buxton hits the IL to start the season. Even if that doesn't happen -- and ideally it won't -- it would behoove Twins to create some space for Martin on the MLB roster to serve as extra depth behind Buxton and Margot.

Even if Buxton is cleared to play, we're going to have to live with the gentle hum of anxiety conerning his health. Minnesota has utlity players who can fill in without Martin getting called up, as Willi Castro can provide depth without needing to make a roster move.

There are still hurdles to clear, but it seems that Buxton's health already becoming somewhat of a concern this early in the season means Martin might be closer to making the roster at the start of the year than he was last week.

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