MINNEAPOLIS — Byron Buxton was out of the lineup for a third consecutive game Monday, June 17, as the Twins started a three-game against the Boston Red Sox at Target Field, but he took some swings in the indoor cage.
Hit in the right wrist by a pitch in the sixth inning of a 2-0 victory over Kansas City on Friday, Buxton was sent outside to test the wrist before Monday’s game.
“He’s going to probably do some other things first before we go straight to swinging,” manager Rocco Baldelli said “If those things go well, then we’ll probably take the next step from there.”
It must have gone well because Buxton, 25, came back inside to take some swings in the cage.
“We’re going to use today to test things out a little bit with Byron,” Baldelli said. “Byron’s a pretty competitive guy, and if we give him an inch, he’s going to fight his way in there even if he probably shouldn’t be out there yet.”
Buxton hurt his left wrist while swinging last season, part of the reason he played in only 28 major league games in 2018. In 65 games this season, the center fielder is hitting .266 with nine home runs, 38 runs batted in and a team-high 21 doubles.
The Twins entered Monday’s game with 10 combined errors in three of their past five games. They were 1-2 in those contests.
Before committing five errors in a 6-9 loss to the Seattle Mariners on June 12, the Twins had 32 errors in 60 games.
“It matters because we didn’t execute in those games, and obviously didn’t win in a few of those games,” Baldelli said, “but to think that we’re going to play flawless baseball for 162 games, it’s not really realistic, either.”
Whether that was ever the case, errors have made a difference in the Twins’ past two losses. Against the Mariners, Tyler Duffey earned the loss without giving up an earned run. In an 8-6 defeat to Kansas City on Sunday, the Royals scored four unearned runs on two errors.
On the other hand, the Twins had the best record in baseball (47-23) before Monday night’s game.
“I think our guys have played very well defensively. We’re pleased with our effort so far in the year to this point,” Baldelli said. “Do we have to play good, solid, clean baseball, and will we? Yeah, I’m very confident that we will. I don’t think what we’ve seen in the last week or so affects us very much.”
Trevor Hildenberger, the right-hander who earned seven saves for the Twins last season, was placed on the Triple-A Rochester seven-day injured list with a right flexor mass strain on Monday.
Hildenberger, 28, was optioned to the Red Wings on May 15 and hasn’t pitched since June 8. The sidearmer struggled with the Red Wings, allowing 11 runs, 10 earned in 10.2 innings pitched for an 8.44 earned-run average.
In his first 11 games with the Twins, Hildenberger was 2-0 with a save and a 0.00 ERA. In his last eight before being demoted, he was 0-2 with an 18.47 ERA