Twins carefully manage Byron Buxton's playing time as outfielder deals with knee problem

It’s no secret that the Twins are a better team when Byron Buxton is on the field.

So when they lost a close game on Saturday night and Buxton remained on the full bench, it drew the ire of fans eager to see the team’s star player have an opportunity to contribute in a pivotal moment.

Twins manager Rocco Baldelli certainly understands this. But these moves, he said, are made to protect the health of the team’s most important player, Buxton, who has been battling a right knee problem since April and, most recently, a mild right hip strain.

“Trying to keep people as healthy as possible for 162 sports and getting the most out of them can be challenging, and it’s a long game more than anything. It doesn’t always feel satisfying on a day-to-day basis,” Baldelli said. “We, the fans, get frustrated with players who want to be out every day, but sometimes the decisions that are made are fun or easy. They don’t happen, but we have to do them.”

Buxton has avoided the injured list so far this season, but, including Sunday’s game, has played in just 23 of the team’s 35 games, due in large part to a knee issue, which is combined with the twins on select scheduled days. are being managed.

After a knee pain on a slide in Boston on April 15, Buxton missed the next five games. Since then, the Twins have taken precautions with them both to manage the pain and to make sure he’ll be on the field for as long as possible.

“It’s just not pre-emptive or however you want to describe it,” Baldelli said. “It’s something we’re reacting to. It’s something he’s been dealing with since the first week of the season and something he’s been playing with. He knows exactly what he’s doing, All the amazing things he’s been doing while dealing with a serious problem with his knee.

Baldelli said Buxton is still battling some swelling in his knee and added that the injury is something he “can’t go through and play every day.” To bring him back to or near full force, Baldelli said he must build on these days.

The manager stated that it is his hope that he is not required to do so throughout the year – in addition to the scheduled days off, Buxton also has days where he has served as the team’s designated hitter – but for now. It’s “what we are” to do.

“It’s in consultation with him and the training staff, the medical staff, just trying to see where he is on a given day,” Baldelli said. “He certainly, I said, has some disbelief that he will sometimes even tell with a smile on his face. He will try to fight his way into the lineup on days when he shouldn’t be, but we work through that.” will try to. “

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