Byron Buxton to begin playing rehab games Friday

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Great development here for the floundering Twins.

According to MLB.com’s Rhett Bollinger, young center fielder Byron Buxton has been performing well in simulated contests at the Twins’ spring training complex in Fort Myers, Florida and is expected to begin an official minor league rehab assignment this Friday evening with the Triple-A Rochester Red Wings.

Buxton has been on the shelf since June 26 with a sprained thumb. He didn’t set the world on fire in his first 11 major league games this season, batting just .189/.231/.270, but the ultra-talented 21-year-old is capable of providing a tremendous jolt for Minnesota offensively and defensively down the stretch.

Buxton was rated the No. 1 prospect in all of baseball this winter by both MLB.com and Baseball Prospectus.

As of this posting, the Twins are one game back of the second AL Wild Card spot.