MILWAUKEE -- The Minnesota Twins are inching along on their way to full health: Reliever Sam Dyson was activated from the injured list on Tuesday, starting pitcher Michael Pineda looks like he will throw against the Rangers this week and designated hitter Nelson Cruz is scheduled to taking batting practice in Texas.
But for one key Twin, his stay on the injured list won’t be wrapping up quite as soon, even though Byron Buxton (shoulder) has been “coming along very well,” manager Rocco Baldelli said. The speedy center fielder is not with the Twins in Milwaukee.
“He’s been able to not just do everything we’ve asked him to, but he’s done it with minimum discomfort,” Baldelli said. “That being said, with what he’s gone through, it’s close to best-case scenario to this point. We still have a ways to go, we still have a little bit of time, and we have to wait and see how he does.”
Buxton suffered a shoulder subluxation running into the wall in an Aug. 1 game in Miami as he was chasing after a triple. It came shortly after he had come off the concussion list after hitting the ground making a diving catch in Cleveland.
“This is a progression. It’s not like you just give him the bat and let him start whacking away. There’s a lot of range of motion. There’s a lot of strength work that’s going to be done with him,” Baldelli said. “When he starts actually moving around and swinging the bat and doing things like that, especially … off of some sort of — it’s usually velo, then the change of speeds, different thought — when he starts doing that, then we’ll have a lot better idea of where we’re at.”
Jonathan Schoop was in the starting lineup Wednesday for just the fourth time in August. He entered the day with just 16 plate appearances in six games this month.
As rookie Luis Arraez continues to impress those around him and earn an increasing amount of playing time, Schoop has found himself the odd man out. It’s something Baldelli said he anticipates Schoop handling well, despite the veteran being accustomed to starting.
“There’s been an adjustment, of course. I think the one thing I can point to, though, is that when I’ve talked to Schoopy, the one thing he says is, ‘I want to win. That’s what I’m focused on.’ He goes, ‘I want to do whatever I can to help the team. I want to win,’ ” Baldelli said. “Of course, it’s different. It’s not what he’s used to, and when you’re not used to playing some of the time, you change your routine. You get used to going up there having at-bats when you haven’t seen pitching in a couple of days.”