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Buxton’s Back: Was No Rehab a Mistake?

It’s been 21 games but Byron Buxton will be back in the Twins lineup tonight. He was initially placed on the disabled list with migraines but then he suffered a hairline fracture in his big toe. The second injury occurred during a rehab game with the Fort Myers Miracle. To make room for Buxton on the roster, Ryan LaMarre was optioned to Triple-A Rochester. In his 20 games with the club, LaMarre hit .324.

With Buxton back, what can fans expect from the speedy outfielder? Was skipping a rehab assignment a mistake?
Image courtesy of Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports
Buxton struggled out of the gate this season. In his first 11 games, he went 8-for-41 (.195 BA) at the plate with two extra-base hits, both doubles. He posted an 11 to 2 strikeout to walk ratio and his .233 on-base percentage is almost 60 points lower than his career mark. Minnesota’s wintery weather in the early season might have been to blame for some of his cold start.

Now the Twins are getting back quite possibly the best defensive player in the game. Manager Paul Molitor was forced to use a smattering of other players as fill-in options in center field. There have been some misplayed balls and bad routes that hurt the team along the way so the pitching staff must be excited to have Buxton back.

“I think everyone feels a little void when he’s not around,” Molitor told reporters.

One has to question Minnesota’s decision not to send Buxton down for another rehab assignment. Over the last week, he has tested his ability to run and do other baseball activities. Even though he has been given the green light from the team’s doctors, his swing might not be ready for big league pitching.

Buxton wasn’t exactly on fire prior to the injury. Fans have also seen how much his swing is based on timing. He’s dropped and added his swing’s leg-kick throughout the course of his career. Playing a handful of games against minor league pitchers could help Buxton to get some of his timing back.

The Twins are scheduled to face the Angels top three pitchers, with Garret Richards, Tyler Skaggs and Shoehi Ohtani set to start three games out of the four game set. Saturday’s starter is still to be determined for LA. Skaggs is left-handed but Richards and Ohtani are both righties. For his career, Buxton has hit .235/.285/.404 against right-handed pitching.

Do you think the Twins should have sent Buxton on another rehab assignment? Leave a COMMENT and start the discussion.

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60 Comments

Rehab probably wouldn't have hurt but I still expect #9 batter production out of him.IMO, he should legitimately try to bunt for base hits twice a game until the rest comes around I thought it helped him get on track last year and it can help him this year. Its such a great weapon for him and I haven't even seen him try it this year.

    • glunn, mikelink45, tarheeltwinsfan and 2 others like this
The team absolutely need his defense and energy. As good as Kepler has been in CF, the team is just flat out better with Buxton in the OF and Grossman playing the field far less. However, with the time he's missed, I would have had him play at least a few milb games to get some timing back and face real game pitching before activating him. Might have looked good to poor, but the "in game" experience would have aided his timing. I expect it will take a while to see anything productive out of his bat. With that said, he'll probably hit a game winning HR his first night back, lol.
    • gocgo, tarheeltwinsfan and bighat like this

 

Rehab probably wouldn't have hurt but I still expect #9 batter production out of him.IMO, he should legitimately try to bunt for base hits twice a game until the rest comes around I thought it helped him get on track last year and it can help him this year. Its such a great weapon for him and I haven't even seen him try it this year.

Unless he bunts it off his foot. :) 

Didn't a previous article say he's not fully healed? I hope it doesn't mean he can't run at full speed. 

Should've kept LaMarre up too. Since he's also the mop-up pitcher it makes sense.

    • Sconnie, Broker and Dave The Dastardly like this
Not a chance. His defense is absolutely vital to this team getting back into things, and they are playing the top contender for the second wildcard spot.

If it takes some time to get his swing back (which wasn't really there to begin with), so be it. I wouldn't mind seeing him get creative and bunt with two strikes when it's least expected, etc. Take everything. Whatever can help get his wheels on base. Revolutionary idea, I know.
    • DocBauer and bighat like this
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diehardtwinsfan
May 10 2018 11:37 PM

His defense is great, but we need something resembling competent with the bat. I have a bad feeling about this. 

    • Jerr, jun, wsnydes and 1 other like this
Try to make me go to rehab i say no no no......Amy Winehouse
    • Twins33, twinssporto and Broker like this

On one hand bring him back asap, his defense is superb enough to warrant whatever he bats.

 

On the other hand, damn it would have been nice to get him some AAA abs to get going and get confidence.He has been able to get back on track with his approach with a little minors time in the past. 

 

He is a very valuable player even if he doesn't hit but him hitting increases that value exponentially.I would say don't mess with his confidence and throw him right back in vs mlb pitching but its the route they have chosen. 

 

I see a lot of people suggest him bunting but pitch recognition seems to be his major flaw and that isn't going to lead to bunts.Buck needs to get major league breaking stuff down, until he does he will be lost at the plate.

I hate to say it, but so far Buxton is half a great player.No one argues or debates his defense, but it is his fourth year and his lifetime average is 235 and this year it is 186.I suspect he will have another spell where we think he has it, but his Ks for a speed guy are horrific.Any contact and his speed can get him on base.Is there a cure?And if there is, who has it?

    • tarheeltwinsfan and Broker like this

 

I hate to say it, but so far Buxton is half a great player.No one argues or debates his defense, but it is his fourth year and his lifetime average is 235 and this year it is 186.I suspect he will have another spell where we think he has it, but his Ks for a speed guy are horrific.Any contact and his speed can get him on base.Is there a cure?And if there is, who has it?

He's barely had 1,000 PAs and less than two seasons worth of games in the majors and he's only 24.Sure there's reason for concern and he's got to stay on the field, but it's too early to panic yet. 

 

If this team is to take that next step though, Buxton and Sano have to figure things out and stay on the field. 

 

I do think it was a mistake to not send him on a rehab stint.He wasn't hitting before he got hurt.A short rehab stint, a couple of games, would be a decent way for him to settle in with the bat and get back up to speed.His defense is badly needed, but given how bad this division, there's no need to rush him back.  

    • Dantes929 and LA VIkes Fan like this

Let him rehab with the Twins. He needs PAs, and he can get them with the Twins as easily as with Rochester. Besides, I don't want Grossman in the OF any more than absolutely necessary.

    • Puckett34, Dantes929, snepp and 3 others like this

I'd rather have him up with the Twins. His bat is struggling, no question. And at this point he's not the player we expected -- not even close.

 

But his defense is too important. So is his energy when he does get on base. So I'm OK with this. Rehab or not, he's going to risk further injury. Might as well risk it while helping the Twins' outfield.

 

 

His defense is great, but we need something resembling competent with the bat. I have a bad feeling about this. 

As long as his bat gets anywhere near the production that Grossman's bat had been giving (bar is set low), it's a net positive when factoring in Buxton's defense.   

    • wsnydes likes this

Let's chill on racking Buxton for now. He's played all of 11 games before last night. For context, before last night Brian Dozier was sporting a .418 OPS in his past 16 games. Guys get hot and get cold, let's not jump to conclusions just yet.

    • birdwatcher likes this

Yes. Work the foot. Get the swing back. Face competitve picthing. 3-5 games.

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Dave The Dastardly
May 11 2018 08:08 AM

"To make room for Buxton on the roster, Ryan LaMarre was optioned to Triple-A Rochester. In his 20 games with the club, LaMarre hit .324."

 

Not many teams have the luxury of sending a .324 hitter down to the minors. Twins must be stacked with decent fielders with hot bats.

    • Broker and wsnydes like this

 

"To make room for Buxton on the roster, Ryan LaMarre was optioned to Triple-A Rochester. In his 20 games with the club, LaMarre hit .324."

 

Not many teams have the luxury of sending a .324 hitter down to the minors. Twins must be stacked with decent fielders with hot bats.

A .324 hitter that had been hitting .181 in limited at bats since the walk off in Puerto Rico on April 18th. It's not like the Twins just sent down Lou Gehrig because Wally Pipp was back from injury. They sent down a player with prior to this season had two big league hits to his name at age 29.

 

Now, should have Lamarre been starting more instead of Grossman in the outfield, yes. But I'm kind of "meh" about him being sent down.

    • USAFChief, LA VIkes Fan and gocgo like this

After 3 weeks away from baseball, I think we were going to see "Bad Byron" in the batter's box against MLB pitching regardless of the rehab assignment.

 

I think the Twins know this, so they are going to get those first 2-3 weeks out of the way now by playing him. We should see Good Byron again by mid-June. Kind of a shame, as it may be another lost season offensively for Bux. It's become almost a given that he'll be out for a significant portion of the season at this point.

 

A .324 hitter that had been hitting .181 in limited at bats since the walk off in Puerto Rico on April 18th. It's not like the Twins just sent down Lou Gehrig because Wally Pipp was back from injury. They sent down a player with prior to this season had two big league hits to his name at age 29.

 

Now, should have Lamarre been starting more instead of Grossman in the outfield, yes. But I'm kind of "meh" about him being sent down.

Am I the only one that took his comment as sarcasm?

    • Twins33, Puckett34, 70charger and 1 other like this

 

Am I the only one that took his comment as sarcasm?

Noooooooooooo.

 

 

I did. Tone gets lost in forums though.

    • wsnydes likes this
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Dave The Dastardly
May 11 2018 08:56 AM

 

A .324 hitter that had been hitting .181 in limited at bats since the walk off in Puerto Rico on April 18th. It's not like the Twins just sent down Lou Gehrig because Wally Pipp was back from injury. They sent down a player with prior to this season had two big league hits to his name at age 29.

 

Now, should have Lamarre been starting more instead of Grossman in the outfield, yes. But I'm kind of "meh" about him being sent down.

Your last paragraph is exactly my point, but without my sarcasm. Nice sarcastic dig about the Gehrig/Pipp comparison though.

    • Puckett34 likes this

 

He's barely had 1,000 PAs and less than two seasons worth of games in the majors and he's only 24.Sure there's reason for concern and he's got to stay on the field, but it's too early to panic yet. 

 

If this team is to take that next step though, Buxton and Sano have to figure things out and stay on the field. 

 

I do think it was a mistake to not send him on a rehab stint.He wasn't hitting before he got hurt.A short rehab stint, a couple of games, would be a decent way for him to settle in with the bat and get back up to speed.His defense is badly needed, but given how bad this division, there's no need to rush him back.  

I understand the team need for Buxton and Sano to come through, but 24 or not, a talent like Buxton should be able to hit at least 250, but he continually has long stretches where he flails and looks lost at the plate.24 is young, but as he was coming up he was compared to Trout and others who have flourished at 24 and younger.Chris Bryant, Carlos Correa, Martinez, Harper, Machado... there is a long list so I am not impressed by his age.Given his potential I am concerned that we need to see a learning curve start soon. 

    • jun and Broker like this
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stringer bell
May 11 2018 09:19 AM

43 at-bats for the season. Dozier has endured a dry spell of in excess of 50 at-bats (before yesterday). Yes, Buxton might struggle the first series or two after being out nearly a month, but his defense should make up for most of that.

    • birdwatcher and Sconnie like this

 

I understand the team need for Buxton and Sano to come through, but 24 or not, a talent like Buxton should be able to hit at least 250, but he continually has long stretches where he flails and looks lost at the plate.24 is young, but as he was coming up he was compared to Trout and others who have flourished at 24 and younger.Chris Bryant, Carlos Correa, Martinez, Harper, Machado... there is a long list so I am not impressed by his age.Given his potential I am concerned that we need to see a learning curve start soon. 

My only point with the age is that he has time to figure it out.Sure, there's a long list of young players that took off immediately.Not everyone does.Everyone has their own learning curve.Comparing anyone to generational greats and then expecting them to live up to it is setting yourself up for disappointment.Frankly, it's unfair to the player.The vast majority of players never even sniff that level talent. There's an even longer list of players that have enormous potential and never realize it.That's what makes the generational greats so rare.  

My feeling would be that Buxton seems to start out about 2 for 50 with 25 K's in any scenario...might as well get it out of the way as fast as possible.Have to just give him the at-bats even though it's horrifically painful to watch.

 

We're in year year 4 with both Buxton and Sano, and due to injuries and uneven performance, we're still in "need to find out" mode with both.Frustrating.

    • diehardtwinsfan, wsnydes, Original Whizzinator and 1 other like this

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