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.
The Angels have placed Andrew Heaney on the 10-day injured list with left shoulder inflammation, the club announced Saturday. The move is retroactive to July 17, though it’s not yet certain that he’ll be cleared to pitch again by the end of the month.
It’s an unfortunate development for the 28-year-old southpaw, who has battled inflammation in his pitching elbow on and off since spring training. In fact, his arm issues date back several years, including the shoulder impingement that put him on the shelf in 2017 and the Tommy John surgery he underwent in 2016. With such a complicated medical history, it makes sense that the Angels would want to proceed with caution as they facilitate the lefty’s eventual return to the mound.
Given his ongoing struggles, Heaney has seen mixed results with the club in 2019. Prior to his recent IL assignment, he pitched to a 1-3 record in nine starts with a 5.09 ERA, 3.7 BB/9, and 10.6 SO/9 through 46 innings. Since the end of June, however, his starts have gotten shorter and shorter; he lasted just 4 1/3 innings in his final outing against the Astros, expending a tremendous 103 pitches and issuing two runs, two walks, and five strikeouts during the team’s eventual 7-2 win.
In a corresponding roster move, the Angels claimed lefty reliever Adalberto Mejía off of waivers from the Twins. Mejía, 26, is expected to be activated ahead of Saturday’s game versus the Mariners. Over 13 appearances with Minnesota, he turned in an 8.80 ERA, 7.0 BB/9, and 8.8 SO/9 in 15 1/3 innings.