Twins center fielder Byron Buxton will not be returning to the roster as soon as anticipated, according to a club announcement on Saturday. Buxton was working his way back from chronic migraines when he fouled a ball off of his left foot in his first rehab game last Sunday and suffered a hairline fracture in his left big toe. It’s unclear how long he’ll be sidelined from this point on, though the team expects to have an idea of his recovery timetable in the next five days and Buxton told reporters he expects to sit out at least a few days before attempting any strenuous activity.
The 24-year-old outfielder is coming off of a career year with the Twins, one in which he ranked among the best defensive center fielders in the majors and slashed .253/.314/.413 with 16 home runs and 3.5 fWAR in 511 PA. Before landing on the disabled list several weeks ago, he struggled to replicate those numbers in his first few games with the team this season, going 8-for-41 with two doubles and four stolen bases.
Without Buxton, the Twins will continue to experiment with some combination of Max Kepler, Ryan LaMarre and Eddie Rosario in the center field spot. Of the three, LaMarre has seen the most starts in center during Buxton’s absence, while Rosario has yet to start at the position.
With his Astros trailing the Tigers 2-1, catcher Robinson Chirinos began his at-bat in the bottom of the ninth a triple shy of the cycle. He doubled in the second inning, singled in the fourth, and hit a solo homer in the seventh. Yordan Álvarez and Yuli Gurriel both struck out, leaving the Astros’ fate in the hands of Chirinos against Joe Jiménez. After working the count to 2-1, Chirinos slapped an 85 MPH slider to the gap in right-center field. A diving Travis Demeritte could not come up with the ball, but center fielder Harold Castro fired the ball back in to Gordon Beckham, who then made a perfect throw to Dawel Lugo at third base. Chirinos was tagged out for the final out of the game. No triple, no cycle. The Astros lost 2-1.
Chirinos was attempting to become the first Astro to hit for the cycle since Brandon Barnes on July 19, 2013 against the Mariners.
The Astros entered Wednesday’s game as the largest favorite in 15 seasons, according to ESPN’s David Purdum. The Astros were -500 per Caesars Sportsbook. Other sportsbooks had them at -550. So the Tigers’ win was quite the upset.
Justin Verlander went the distance in the loss. The only blemishes on his line were solo homers to Ronny Rodríguez in the fifth and John Hicks in the ninth. They were the only hits he allowed while walking none and striking out 11.