Byron Buxton Pleads with Rocco Baldelli for Chance to Play Center Field in Playoffs

MLB: Minnesota Twins at Oakland Athletics
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The Minnesota Twins start their final series of the regular season on Friday in Colorado vs the Rockies. Then, they’ll get Monday off, before starting a best-of-three Wildcard series on Tuesday. Whether or not Byron Buxton makes the Twins’ 1st round playoff roster is still to be determined.

Byron Buxton pleads with Rocco Baldelli to put him on the Wildcard roster

According to LaVelle E. Neal (Star Tribune), who sat down with Byron for a 1v1 interview yesterday (Wednesday), the 29-year-old spent 20 minutes of his day pleading with manager Rocco Baldelli to give him a shot at playing center field for the Twins, in their upcoming Wildcard series.

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The final decision will be based on workouts that Buxton has planned at Target Field, over the next few days, while the rest of the team is in Colorado. He’s determined to prove to Rocco, Derek Falvey and Thad Levine that he can contribute positively next week.

Buxton is going to hit, run and take fly balls in center at Target Field while the Twins are in Colorado this weekend. This will be his attempt to prove he can contribute to the playoff cause.

Buxton told me Wednesday after the meeting what he told Baldelli: “I’m going to make it harder for you [to decide] over these next four days than it was the entire season.”

Buxton was bold. “That’s the mindset that keeps me pushing day in and day out,” he said.

LaVelle E. Neal – Star Tribune

Buxton went on to tell LaVelle that Rocco agreed to give him an opportunity to prove his body can handle one 3-game series in center field. Baldelli told Byron to “keep pushing and see how far your body can go”. LaVelle reports that Royce Lewis will be the team’s DH next week, meaning Buxton has to play the field if he wants to make the roster.

byron buxton minnesota twins al wildcard knee
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No surgery planned for Buxton this offseason

If you’re hoping Byron Buxton can have surgery to repair his ailing knee this offseason, think again. Apparently, he’s happy with the arthroscopic knee surgery he received last offseason. Buxton told Neal that, while he initially expected his DH 2023 duties to be more temporary, his sore knee happened as a result of his surgery and subsequent recover, not due to a setback or new injury that requires any more invasive treatment.

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Buxton and the Twins are trying to sell us on the idea that Buxton’s knee will heal itself during the offseason and be better than ever next fall. I’m skeptical, to say the least.

One encouraging sign for the future is that Twins trainer Nick Paparesta noted recently the surgically repaired part of Buxton’s knee continues to improve. And there’s no indication the injury could be a problem next year or beyond.

“Not that I know of,” Buxton said. “I just didn’t know how I was going to be coming off of surgery.”

LaVelle E. Neal – Star Tribune

As of Thursday night, I have very little faith in Buxton impressing Minnesota Twins brass enough with his workouts this week, to make the Wildcard roster. We’re talking about a guy who played 7 innings in center field for the St. Paul Saints and needed a week’s rest before the swelling would go down.

I don’t trust in a long-term miracle like they apparently do either. Here’s to hoping I’m wrong on all fronts.

Eric Strack | Minnesota Sports Fan

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