For the second time this season one of the Twins’ starting outfielders got hurt and when he was ready to come off the disabled list they instead demoted him to the minors.
The first time it was Opening Day left fielder Oswaldo Arcia, who remains at Triple-A two months later. And now it’s stud center field prospect Byron Buxton, whose much-hyped MLB debut in mid-June lasted just 11 games before he suffered a thumb injury.
Buxton played three minor-league rehab games at Triple-A, going 5-for-12 (.417) with one double, two walks, and one stolen base. That convinced the Twins we was healthy, but they didn’t want to activate him and didn’t want him to keep accumulating MLB service time on the DL. So now he’s simply at Triple-A.
Minnesota will stick with Aaron Hicks in center field and Torii Hunter and Eddie Rosario in the outfield corners, with Shane Robinson getting more playing time than he deserves as the fourth outielder. After a strong start to the season the Twins have the AL’s worst record since June 1 at 25-37.
Byron Buxton’s rough start in the majors just got much rougher, as the Twins placed the stud center field prospect on the disabled list with a sprained left thumb suffered during a stolen base attempt Tuesday.
Buxton played through the injury Wednesday, going 0-for-4 with four strikeouts as the Twins’ leadoff man against White Sox ace Chris Sale.
To replace him on the roster the Twins called up Danny Santana, who was recently demoted to Triple-A after hitting .218 with a .525 OPS and 49/2 K/BB ratio to lose the Opening Day shortstop job.
Minnesota just released Opening Day center fielder Jordan Schafer and Aaron Hicks is on the disabled list with an elbow injury for at least a few more days, so the Twins figure to turn to Shane Robinson or shift Santana to center field where he played last season.
Buxton hit .189 with a .501 OPS and 15 strikeouts in 11 games after being called up from Double-A at age 21. Twins manager Paul Molitor told Dana Wessel of 96.3-FM in Minnesota that Buxton will probably miss “at least a month.”
The Twins have released outfielder Jordan Schafer, who has been out since mid-May with a knee injury.
After a strong finish with the Twins last season, Schafer began this season as the team’s center fielder, but he struggled to the tune of a .217/.250/.261 batting line over 74 plate appearances and went 0-for-3 in stolen base attempts prior to going on the disabled list with a strained medial collateral ligament in his right knee. Surgery wasn’t necessary, but he had yet to go out on a minor league rehab assignment.
Schafer’s presence was fairly redundant for Minnesota, as Byron Buxton recently took over as the starting center fielder while Shane Robinson is in place as a backup and Aaron Hicks should eventually return from a forearm injury. There probably wouldn’t be room for him when healthy and the Twins will need a 40-man roster spot when Ervin Santana returns from his PED suspension in a couple of weeks, so it made sense to just cut him loose.
A former highly-regarded prospect with the Braves, the 29-year-old Schafer is a .228/.308/.307 hitter over 463 games in the majors.