Buxton's throw turns heads
MINNEAPOLIS -- A big smile spread across Ervin Santana's face when he was asked about Byron Buxton's laser throw from the warning track to cut down Mike Napoli trying for second on Friday night."He saved me on that one," Santana said. "He's very ...
MINNEAPOLIS - A big smile spread across Ervin Santana’s face when he was asked about Byron Buxton’s laser throw from the warning track to cut down Mike Napoli trying for second on Friday night.
“He saved me on that one,” Santana said. “He’s very good out there.”
The assist was just the second for Buxton this year and the fourth in his brief major league career. Rookie right fielder Max Kepler leads the Twins with four outfield assists, followed by left fielder Robbie Grossman.
“As he develops and go forward, hopefully we’ll see the assists begin to climb,” Twins manager Paul Molitor said. “He’s well above-average in arm strength. I think his accuracy is plus too. I think he’s been accurate to the cutoff man, which for me is as important as actually throwing somebody out sometimes.”
After missing time late in the first half with a bone bruise in his right knee, Buxton believes the issue is behind him. He showed as much planting that right foot in the warning track as he grabbed Napoli’s shot off the wall and threw a 90-mph dart to second, according to Statcast.
“Just judging that play last night, reading the carom, getting himself in position to make a throw from the track - his defensive package is pretty inclusive,” Molitor said. “I guess if there was any complaint, it wasn’t a short hop or a long hop. It was a little bit in between. (Brian) Dozier did a nice job of corralling it and putting a tag on.”
Molitor smiled at this bit of nitpicking. He’s more than happy with Buxton’s defense thus far.
“When you watch him just play catch, there’s just a certain carry to his ball,” he said. “It’s free and easy. It’s natural. We’ve got some guys that can throw out there. (Eddie Rosario) we know has got a good arm too. It just kind of complements your speed and your range and your ability to run good angles. If you can throw, that’s kind of icing on the cake.”
Gordon set for induction
Former Twins radio broadcaster John Gordon can pretty much guarantee he will battle his emotions on Sunday afternoon when he is inducted into the Twins’ Hall of Fame.
“I’ve rehearsed my comments and in rehearsing them I’ve had trouble getting through them,” said Gordon, who turned 76 this month. “I can’t imagine I’m going to able to get right through them on Sunday without backing off just a little bit. It’s going to be a very emotional time for me, I can tell you that right now.”
Gordon worked on the New York Yankees radio team before starting a 25-year run with the Twins in 1987. Inducted into the Minnesota Broadcasting Hall of Fame in 2008, Gordon also had the Twins radio booth named in his honor.
He joins former radio partner Herb Carneal as the only broadcasters named to the Twins hall.
“My wife even mentioned to me, ‘It’s kind of amazing you’re going into the hall of fame,’ ” Gordon said. “I did spend 25 years with the organization and I did have a wonderful relationship with the players and the front office and the fans and the employees of the Twins. I can’t ever recall any time I was feeling bad about a relationship I would have with someone that was with the Twins organization or on the field.”
Fellow Twins hall of famer Jim Rantz, who retired in 2012 after a long run as the organization’s farm director, will introduce Gordon on Sunday. Together they started the Twins farm report that became a popular feature on weekend broadcasts.
“We did a lot of things to enhance and promote the minor leagues,” Gordon said. “We grew to a wonderful friendship that both of us have carried on since we retired.”
The errors are piling up on Miguel Sano.
His wild throw on Friday night gave him five in his past seven games at third base, but the Twins say they aren’t concerned about his recent sloppiness since returning from right field.
“He’s made a couple of impressive plays and he hasn’t made a couple that should have been made,” Twins general manager Terry Ryan said. “I’m sure he’ll tell you that as well as anybody.”
On Friday Sano rushed his off-balance throw with slow-footed Mike Napoli running on a chopper past the mound. With the strength of his arm, Sano had time to make a more conventional throw and still get the Cleveland Indians slugger.
“He can do some things over there,” Ryan said. “He can make the slow roller play with the best of them. He’s got a power arm. Now it’s just a little bit more repetition and consistency. He can become a very good third baseman.”
Ryan added he has been pleased with Sano’s positioning and instincts since returning to the hot corner.
“You don’t have to move him too much; he’s got a pretty good feel over there,” Ryan said. “For the most part, I think he grasps that position well. He’s a good baseball player. He has all the attributes to play two sides of the ball. There’s no reason he shouldn’t become a good defensive player.”