Injuries & Moves: Buxton optimistic about return

2 years ago

Keep track of the Twins’ recent transactions and injury updates throughout the season.

CF Byron Buxton (right knee soreness)
Expected return: Possibly week of April 18
An MRI revealed no structural damage to Buxton’s right knee after he exited Friday’s win over the Red Sox following a leadoff double and slide into second base in the first inning, and the center fielder said Sunday that he’s “not too concerned” following the initial scare and the testing that followed.

According to manager Rocco Baldelli, the club could spend time as soon as Tuesday or Wednesday to determine a specific plan for Buxton’s return to action.

“He’s actually doing really well,” Baldelli said. “He’s very optimistic about how he’s feeling right now.”

“It was kind of more of a tingling sensation up my leg, and just more cautious than anything,” Buxton said. “Normally, I probably wouldn’t have said anything, just because I wanted to stay in and play, but it’s early in the season, and it’s better to miss a couple of games now than to miss two or three months later.”

Buxton said he had battled issues in the knee for “a couple of days” leading into Friday’s slide, which aggravated the area. He and the Twins will continue to take his recovery day by day, though it’s likely an encouraging sign that he still hasn’t been placed on the injured list two days following the injury.

With the support of his teammates, Buxton hopes that feeling “fine” for now will lead to a quick return to the field — and the coming days will show how expeditious that will be.

“Everybody on the team texted me,” Buxton said. “For me, that’s how close we’ve gotten together even in the short time we have. Every person on this team texted me to make sure I was good, and that’s what it takes to battle through things like this.” — Do-Hyoung Park (Last updated: April 18)

RHP Sonny Gray (right hamstring tightness)
Expected return: Week of April 25
Gray is only expected to miss one turn through the rotation following a second-inning exit from his Saturday start against the Red Sox due to his hamstring tightening up. He reported feeling slightly sore on Sunday and hoped to rest the hamstring for three or four days before throwing a bullpen session in Kansas City, where the Twins will travel to complete the current road trip. Gray hopes to throw one more bullpen after that before he returns to action.

“[I’ll] take that time here to strengthen and work on some other things and maybe get a couple of bullpens in before the next time, which is something that I probably need right now anyway,” Gray said. “So, yeah, it was not something big.”

The Twins will work with a five-man starting staff while Gray is down, with rookie Josh Winder expected to remain in his long-relief role for the next turn through the rotation. — Do-Hyoung Park (Last updated: April 17)

RHP Jorge Alcala (right elbow inflammation)
Expected return:
Alcala played catch on Friday at Fenway Park from 60 feet and 90 feet but said that he’s still not feeling where he needs to be and doesn’t appear close to returning to the mound. He said he felt the pain in his elbow while throwing a fastball in his most recent outing, but doesn’t feel it has anything to do with his abbreviated Spring Training ramp-up due to fingernail issues. He’s still not able to throw at 100 percent, he said. — Do-Hyoung Park (Last updated: April 16)

LF Alex Kirilloff (right wrist soreness)
Expected return: TBD
Though the 24-year-old is back on the IL for a recurrence of the right wrist soreness that ultimately required season-ending surgery last July, president of baseball operations Derek Falvey said that an examination revealed no structural concerns in the area. Kirilloff received a cortisone injection in the area, and the Twins hope the issue won’t sideline him for long.

“Sometimes, when a player goes through an injury, and ultimately a surgery or otherwise, they need to make some adjustments along the way,” Falvey said. “It feels a little different from what they’re used to. Alex is going through that phase a little bit now.” — Do-Hyoung Park (Last updated: April 15)

RHP Cody Stashak (right biceps tendinitis)
Expected return: TBD
Stashak began a rehab assignment with Single-A Fort Myers on Thursday, tossing a perfect inning of relief with two strikeouts. Stashak didn’t break camp with the Twins after he was shut down with tendinitis issues that flared up during Spring Training. Though he made two appearances in Grapefruit League action, the issue impacted him as he threw in the bullpen and the Twins got him off his feet to give him treatment. — Do-Hyoung Park (Last updated: April 15)

RHP Randy Dobnak (right middle finger strain)
Expected return:
No sooner than June
Though Dobnak was throwing when camp started, the 27-year-old right-hander was shut down and landed back on the 60-day IL due to a continuation of the persistent right middle finger strain — injuries to the pulley tendons in the finger — that limited him to 50 2/3 innings last season and did not resolve over the course of the offseason. — Do-Hyoung Park (Last updated: March 21)

RHP Kenta Maeda (Tommy John surgery)
Expected return:
Possibly September
Maeda began tossing a baseball from 30 feet at the beginning of March with no issues in his right elbow, six months after he underwent season-ending Tommy John surgery on Sept. 1 in the Dallas area with Dr. Keith Meister. He’ll continue to build up the distance of his throwing through a program with the Twins. The inclusion of an internal brace to the elbow, a newer development to the surgery, has the potential to cut Maeda’s recovery time down to 9-12 months, though he’s still not sure if he’ll make it back to a big league mound this season. — Do-Hyoung Park (Last updated: March 13)