Top prospect Byron Buxton suffers concussion in Double-A debut
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Twins top prospect Byron Buxton suffered a concussion during a "violent" outfield collision on Wednesday night in his debut at Double-A New Britain.
Nonetheless, Twins general manager Terry Ryan made it clear he felt Buxton was extremely fortunate after the center fielder was knocked out for several minutes and then transported via ambulance to a local hospital in New Britain, Conn.
"He's going to be fine, he's a battler, he's in good spirits right now," Ryan said. "It could have been a lot worse so we're grateful it's just a concussion."
Ryan, who was at the game, told the New Britain radio broadcasters that Buxton was "fine" and "alert" at the hospital and that the normal protocols for when a player suffers a concussion would be followed by the Twins.
The collision took place in right-center field in the top half of the fifth inning when Buxton appeared to hit his left shoulder and neck on the knee of right fielder Mike Kvasnicka, according to a tweet from Don Amore of the Hartford Courant.
NB manager Jeff Smith gathers players in front of dugouts after Buxton left for hospital. Players huddled for a prayer.— Dom Amore (@AmoreCourant) August 14, 2014
Buxton, who was parallel to the ground, appeared to hit his left shoulder/neck with RF mike kvasnicka's knee. A violent collusion.— Dom Amore (@AmoreCourant) August 14, 2014
Play in New Britain has been halted over 30 minutes since Buxton collision/injury— Dom Amore (@AmoreCourant) August 14, 2014
Buxton, who was hitting leadoff and playing center field against the Bowie Baysox, remained on the ground for several minutes before an ambulance came onto the field. Amore tweeted that the medical staff "stabilized" Buxton and he was placed on a stretcher.
Kvasnicka also was injured as he caught the ball. He was able to get up but was taken to the hospital with Buxton. Rock Cats athletic trainer Chris Johnson accompanied the pair to the hospital. The New Britain broadcasters said a Rock Cats official confirmed Buxton came to on the field after being knocked out for 10 minutes. Ryan said Kvasnicka was able to return to the stadium and had a sore hip.
The game was halted for more than 30 minutes as New Britain manager Jeff Smith gathered players in front of the dugouts after Buxton left for the hospital, according to Amore. Players huddled for a prayer. New Britain beat Bowie, 8-5.
This has been a difficult season for Buxton, who had been expected to begin the season at New Britain.
That did not happen after Buxton injured his left wrist diving for a ball in mid-March during a minor league spring training game. He re-aggravated the injury shortly after his return in early May. Buxton then sat out five games after being hit on the right wrist by a pitch last month.
The center fielder was hitting .240/.313/.405 with four home runs and 16 runs batted at high Single-A Fort Myers when the Twins decided to promote him on Monday night. Buxton had three at-bats Wednesday before suffering the injury and struck out in each of those appearances.
Buxton, the second-overall pick in the 2012 draft, hit .334/.424/.520 with 12 home runs, 77 RBIs and 109 runs in 125 games last year split between Class A Cedar Rapids and Fort Myers. Buxton was named Baseball America's Minor League Player of the Year in 2013.