Byron Buxton Can’t Swing or Run, Rocco Unconcerned

PHOTO: CARLOS GONZALEZ - STAR TRIBUNE

The Minnesota Twins have not been playing well lately — 11-16 over last 27 games — and part of their losing ways can be attributed to daily uncertainty surrounding Byron Buxton’s knee injury. Rocco Baldelli has been penciling Buxton into the lineup at DH more and more of late, an obvious sign that his knee is ailing him.

In 15 games from May 29 to June 17, Buxton was the designated hitter EIGHT times and the center fielder just SEVEN times. Immediately following that stretch, Byron Buxton (with an off-day sandwiched in-between) played two-straight games in center field on Sunday and Tuesday.

Cool Cucumber Rocco

He hasn’t seen the lineup in two games since. Buxton was ruled out on Wednesday night and was seen with his leg wrapped after a second-straight loss to Cleveland. Today, the Twins are without Byron again. If Rocco Baldelli is concerned, he’s sure hiding it well.

Rocco Baldelli’s quotes read as if Buxton’s knee issues are no big deal. That this is all part of the process. Sure, our oft injured superstar can’t swing a bat or even run, because his knee is too swollen and hurts too badly, but what’s the panic, right?

Byron Buxton is too valuable not to have in the lineup. If that means he has to DH the rest of the season, so be it. But if there’s something wrong with his knee, that won’t heal without offseason rest or surgery, then it’s time the Minnesota Twins come clean and let media and fans know more about it. This isn’t a standard tendinitis injury. Roy Smalley (Bally Sports North) might buy that diagnosis but I’m not.

Stop Hiding Injuries in Professional Sports

This isn’t basketball, hockey or football. Nobody is going to try taking Byron Buxton out at the knee because they know he’s battling an injury. And even in those sports, fans want to know what players are dealing with, in 2022, and gamblers want to know whether or not Byron Buxton is going to impact a game. There isn’t room in professional sports anymore, for hiding injuries.

Eric Strack | Minnesota Sports Fan