The Athletic’s Dan Hayes reports that Twins outfielder Byron Buxton exited Monday’s intrasquad game with an apparent left ankle injury. He appeared to catch a spike in the outfield grass attempting to catch a fly ball hit by Nelson Cruz. Buxton was tended to by trainers before exiting on the back of a golf cart.
Buxton has been besieged by injuries throughout his career, managing just 393 games over five seasons since debuting in 2015. He had his performance to date last season, batting .262/.314/.513 with 30 doubles, 10 home runs, 46 RBI, 48 runs scored, and 14 stolen bases across 295 plate appearances. He appeared in only 87 games due to a left shoulder subluxation for which he underwent surgery.
The Twins should pass along word on Buxton’s condition later tonight. [Update: The Twins expect to provide an update on Tuesday, per MLB.com’s Do-Hyoung Park.] He was slated to open the season as the starting center fielder and likely would have batted ninth in the lineup. If Buxton’s ankle injury is serious, Max Kepler would likely slide over from right field to center and Jake Cave would handle right.
At any rate, this isn’t what the Twins want to hear going into a defense of their AL Central title. They went 101-61 last season but the shortened 60-game season will create a lot more variance than teams are used to during the regular season.