MINNEAPOLIS — As if Byron Buxton’s season wasn’t miserable enough, the speedy outfielder has another injury concern with which he must deal.
Buxton left Triple-A Rochester’s game in the third inning on Thursday because of a sore left wrist that bothered him after he fouled off a second pitch and with the count at 1-2.
“X-rays were negative,” manager Paul Molitor said Friday before the Twins played Tampa Bay at Target Field. “We’re still waiting on a little bit more information as far as the reading of the MRI. The optimism would be that we hope it’s just a minor strain, whether it’s tendon related or whatever, and we’ll get more going forward.”
Molitor said no decision has been made on whether Buxton will go on the seven-day disabled list — it’s seven instead of 10 days at Triple-A — and that the team was waiting on “getting a little bit more information before we decide what the next step is.”
Asked if Buxton’s injury might involve the hamate bone, Molitor said: “I think the X-rays probably would have shown that. Maybe not fully. Maybe that’s why the MRI is a little bit more extensive as far as what we might be able to see.”
The Twins feared Buxton had injured his hamate bone late last season but it turned out to be a bruised left hand. That injury only caused him to miss one game.
Buxton emerged as a threat in the Twins’ lineup in the second half of last season and also won a Gold Glove in center field, creating the expectation that he would be a key part of this year’s team. But Buxton’s struggles at the plate and a broken toe have derailed him.
He missed time in April because of migraine headaches and was on a rehab stint with Single-A Fort Myers when he broke the big toe on his left foot by fouling a ball off it. Buxton returned to the Twins in May but continued to be bothered by the injury and looked lost at the plate.
The Twins put Buxton back on the disabled list and have since used an option to keep him at Rochester because of his continued struggles at the plate. Buxton, who is hitting .156/.183/.200 with four RBIs in 28 games with the Twins this season, stayed in Rochester during the three-day break for the International League All-Star game so he could work with Red Wings hitting coach Chad Allen.
Buxton had gone 5-for-13 in the three games before the break to raise his average to .239. He is now hitting .232/.303/.377 with two home runs and six RBIs in 18 games for the Red Wings.
Molitor said he hadn’t talked to Buxton on Friday but acknowledged how difficult this season has been for the once top prospect.
“When they keep coming, they get challenging,” Molitor said. “Probably you have to get yourself … get your mind around it. You can’t feel sorry for yourself. If it’s something you’ve got to deal with, whether it’s two days or five days or 10 days, you just do the next thing that you need to do.”