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.
Torii Hunter was quite descriptive in describing the Blue Jays’ offense after his Twins were dismantled in a four-game series sweep. The Twins scored 12 runs but allowed 26 runs to the Blue Jays, baseball’s best offense. Much of the offense was driven by eight Toronto home runs.
What was it like, according to Hunter? “The way they hit the ball is just unbelievable,” he said, per Sportsnet. “I mean, they hit the ball, sound like car crashes.”
The second half hasn’t been kind to Hunter’s Twins, as they headed into Friday’s action with a 5-14 record since the All-Star break. They lost 5.5 games in that span of time and sat 9.5 games behind the Royals, in second place in the AL Central with a 54-54 record.
That didn’t take long. David Price and the Blue Jays beat the Twins in Price’s debut this afternoon, 5-1.
Price tossed eight innings, allowing only one run on three hits and striking out 11. Those 11 Ks are a Blue Jays debut record. His only mistake in the game was allowing a Torii Hunter solo homer in the second inning. His 118 other pitches yielded no runs.
On the offensive side, Ryan Goins and Josh Donaldson each homered for Toronto — Donaldson’s was a two-run shot which caused fans in Rogers Centre to chant “M-V-P, M-V-P!” — while Edwin Encarnacion and Justin Smoak each had RBI singles.
The Jays now stand 5.5 out of first place in the east but are now in a virtual tie with the Twins for the second wild card slot (Minnesota has a game advantage in the loss column).
The new-look Jays look pretty scary right now.
Remember that time Twins outfielder Torii Hunter disrobed in protest of his ejection from a game? And then was suspended two games for it? Tigers starter Anibal Sanchez — a teammate of Hunter’s in Detroit in 2013 and ’14 — jokingly mocked it as Hunter took batting practice prior to Friday night’s game.
Joe Davis of FOX Sports has video:
Sanchez pitched on Wednesday, so he won’t be starting in the three-game weekend set against the Twins. Hunter, however, will be in the lineup in an attempt to exact revenge against his former team.