Byron Buxton Speaks Candidly About Chronic Knee Injury

Byron Buxton, Minnesota Twins
Bruce Kluckhohn-USA TODAY Sports

Byron Buxton is back in the Minnesota Twins lineup… for now. Sunday will be his second-straight day in center field, if he’s written into it again. But at this point, Twins’ fans are just waiting for the next time his knee acts up and he is forced back to the injured list yet again.

It’s good to have Buck back. He’s a big part of the leadership group in Minnesota’s locker room and they are a better team when he is able to play the outfield and stand in the batter’s box.

Byron Buxton knows he is dealing with a chronic knee injury

But Byron Buxton made it clear that his latest injury was confirmation that he will have to deal with a knee that is failing him at a chronic level. According to Bobby Nightengale (Star Tribune) Buck ‘acknowledges his knee pain is something he must manage compared to playing completely pain-free’.

“It’s back to the point where I feel like I can go again. Just trial and error, we don’t know when or if that’ll happen again. It’s just one of those things where you’ve got to put it on the back burner and just keep trusting what we’re doing and just go play.”

“I don’t want to have to do anything differently than what I was doing. I know that with what I was doing, this happened, but I went through spring training, then I went through the month I did before [the injury]. Just trying to figure out better ways to manage it.”

Byron Buxton on trying to manage his knee injury (quote via Star Tribune)

For a long time, optimists figured there would be some sort of procedure that Buxton and his team would find that would cure his chronic knee issues up for good. It is 2024, after all. You just don’t hear about a lot of baseball players these days whose careers are being killed by knee injuries.

Unfortunately, that has not been the case. When Buck entered spring training with a smile on his face and plans to steal 30 bases, I too felt a small glimmer of hope, deep down in my baseball gut. Was it possible that modern medicine finally caught up with Byron Buxton’s bad knees?

About 30 regular season games (not 30 stolen bases) later, those dreams were crushed when Buxton came up limping during a failed stolen base attempt. He immediately exited the game and landed on the short-term injured list a few days later, after an MRI.

Nobody knows exactly what Byron Buxton’s future holds with the Minnesota Twins… but it isn’t at DH

Byron Buxton, Minnesota Twins
Photo: Bruce Kluckhohn-USA TODAY Sports

Now, as Buck gets ramped back up, optimists must shift their Buxton focus fully over to a more macro view. On the overall amount of games that Byron is able to play each season. Remember, his contract is fully guaranteed ($15M/YR) through 2028.

Minnesota cannot trade Buxton without his blessing until 2027, and even then the limited list of teams is only five-deep. That’s why it can no longer be about whether or not Byron can free himself from injury hell. It’s apparent that realistically isn’t going to happen.

Another thing that isn’t going to happen. DH. The 30-year-old Baxley (GA) native made it clear that being a designated hitter is no longer part of his plan. Ever.

“Not to keep harping on DHing, but that’s, like, written in my head. That’s something I don’t want to do. Mentally, that was a toll. Anything for me to stay away from that. I know I’m going to have to do it at some points, but to be able to know that you’re freely going out to center — that gives your mind some peace.”

Byron Buxton on the possibility of DH-ing more often (quote via Star Tribune)

Take every year as it comes and know that Byron is going to miss 50 or more games, just due to his decaying knee. But, the closer we can get him to 162 games, the better the Minnesota Twins will be. Then, make sure he is as healthy as possible entering September, hopefully October.

Related: New MLB + Roku Deal Gives Bally-less Twins Fans Some Free Games to Watch

Because one thing is for sure, Byron Buxton is going to be in and out of the lineup and managing his knee issues throughout the entirety of, not just his baseball career, but the rest of his life. How well he can do that for the next handful of years will dictate how the baseball world looks back on his professional career.

Mentioned in this article:

More About: