Byron Buxton Caught Off Guard by Injured List Designation

PHOTO: ABBIE PARR - AP PHOTO

Byron Buxton has played through an injured knee for most of the 2022 season. Most professional athletes would have shut their season down months ago. Not Buxton, who has done everything in his power to keep patellar tendinitis from landing him on the injured list or, worse, ending his season.

Buxton spends hours pregame getting his knee to a useable condition. He had a plasma injection after his All-Star appearance and said no to the HR Derby. Byron shows signs of pain every time out but only misses games when his body refuses to allow him on the field. Most bad days, when his knee is too sore or swollen to run in the outfield, Buck stays in the lineup as a DH.

Buxton surprised by IL designation

So when Byron Buxton hurt his hip on Monday vs the Rangers and the MRI came back clean the next day, he expected to board a plane and fly out to Houston for the Twins’ current series vs the Astros. To Buck’s surprise, according to Darren Wolfson (KSTP, SKOR North), the Twins sent him to the 10-day injured list instead (02:40 mark – transcribed below).

“Postgame, Buxton thought he was going to go to Houston, fully understanding ‘hey, I probably need a few days here to recoup’. But he thought he was going to Houston. Rocco Baldelli and the Twins trainer told him, ‘no, we’re putting you on the injured list’. My understanding is, that came as a surprise to Byron Buxton. He wasn’t necessarily convinced he was going on the injured list.”Darren Wolfson on the Mackey and Judd Podcast (SKOR North)

This schism between the Minnesota Twins and Byron Buxton is an interesting one. It’s also relieving. Those who feared that Byron Buxton wouldn’t be ready to return, immediately following his 10-day IL stay, can breath easy. If Buck wanted to travel to Houston, and hoped he’d be ready by the end of this series (final game is tonight), then I fully expect him to take the field again, as soon as he’s eligible to return (seven days from now).

So many questions…

On the other hand, this report raises a lot of questions. Like, will the Minnesota Twins even be in the playoff race, by the time Byron is ready to return. If not, then was this decision to send him to the IL a mistake?

As pointed out earlier, he’s already been hurt for most of the season. But the Twins have let him manage his own pain and pain tolerance. Until now. So, what changed? Because Byron clearly didn’t have a say in this 10-day stint on the injured list. Why wasn’t he allowed to spurn his own IL decisions this time around?

“I was told that the MRI came back ‘clean’, at least in terms of no structural damage. The MRI didn’t reveal something catastrophic. But, apparently, the MRI showed the Twins enough to say, ‘ok we need to shut him down for a minimum of 10 days with this injured list stint’. But I’m just telling you; my understanding is, from multiple angles, that Buck thought, ‘hey I don’t need to go on the injured list, why are you putting me on the injured list’. He was full-steam ahead on making it through this entire year, even if he needs a couple days here and there, without going on the injured list once.”Darren Wolfson on the Mackey and Judd Podcast (SKOR North)

It’s likely the Minnesota Twins are trying to look out for Byron Buxton’s best interest. Because they know how far he’s willing to push his body, if it means a chance of getting on the field to help his teammates. Well for the next 10 days, he has no chance. Maybe that helps him recover in a better and safer way.

But of all the times, throughout the season, that he could have been given a 10-day stint to “get well soon”, this feels like the worst possible moment to choose.

Eric Strack | Minnesota Sports Fan