Over on the backfields, Byron Buxton sees first spring game action for Twins
Buxton was the team’s designated hitter in his first game action since Aug. 22
FORT MYERS, Fla. — Minnesota Twins president of baseball operations Derek Falvey has remained steadfast in saying the Twins are targeting Opening Day for center fielder Byron Buxton.
But the center fielder still hadn’t played in a game this spring, with just a couple of weeks left until Opening Day.
It was on a backfield against minor leaguers, but Buxton played his first game since Aug. 22 on Thursday, serving as the team’s designated hitter.
“I heard he came out good,” manager Rocco Baldelli said. “(Bench coach) Jayce (Tingler) went over and we had a few staff members that went over to that side to watch him. I think he wanted to swing the bat better than he swung it, but I think he came out of it feeling good, which is really the only thing that I’m concerned about at all.”
So, what’s the next step for him?
“More of that, I would say,” Baldelli said.
While playing in a game marks a milestone for Buxton as he makes his return from last year’s season-ending knee surgery, the all-star has been getting plenty of at-bats this spring.
President of baseball operations Derek Falvey said on the team’s radio broadcast that Buxton has had around 45 plate appearances this spring on the backfields while participating in live batting practice against his teammates.
Nick Gordon’s mild to moderate high ankle sprain wound up keeping the utilityman off the field for less than two weeks. If he had had his way, it would have been less time than that.
“He was borderline begging to play before the off day so of course we have to make him wait one more day,” Baldelli said.
Gordon returned Thursday and collected one of the Twins’ two hits in their 2-0 loss to the Tampa Bay Rays at Hammond Stadium. He played second base and declared himself “definitely good,” afterward. Baldelli said Gordon is on the schedule right now to play in three of the Twins’ next four games.
“I think that probably tells you how we feel about him physically,” Baldelli said.
Twins starter Sonny Gray came to Hammond Stadium on Wednesday, the team’s off day, to get his work in and stay on schedule. He got four innings in a minor league game, throwing to catcher Ryan Jeffers. … Starter Joe Ryan gave up a pair of runs in his four-plus inning start on Thursday. … The Twins made a pair of cuts, announcing that they have reassigned catchers Chris Williams and Chance Sisco to minor league camp. … Twins Pass, a monthly ticket package that gives fans ballpark access for 80 regular season games, is now on sale at a discounted rate of $49 per month. That will jump to $54 per month between April 8 and May 29 and will be $59 per month from June through September.
This story was written by one of our partner news agencies. Forum Communications Company uses content from agencies such as Reuters, Kaiser Health News, Tribune News Service and others to provide a wider range of news to our readers. Learn more about the news services FCC uses here.