Is Byron Buxton Ready to Play? That Depends on Who You Ask.

Photo: David Berding - USA TODAY Sports

We’re past the season’s breaking point for the Minnesota Twins. Not even Byron Buxton in a Superman cape can save the this team from a lost 2021 season. But, that won’t stop him from trying.

Buxton’s already completed a 3-game rehab stint with the St. Paul Saints and now he’s in Seattle with the Twins. He hasn’t been activated off the IR yet, though. And, he won’t be before Tuesday night’s 9:10 PM matchup vs the Mariners.

Buxton’s readiness depends on who you’re asking.

It’s hard to know exactly how healthy Byron is because the answer can be different depending on who you ask. For example; if you ask Buck, himself, he’s ready. But if you ask his manager, Rocco Baldelli, the 26-year-old phenom needs to be protected from himself.

I’m not sure what’s going on behind the scenes but I sure hope Baldelli and the Twins know what they’re doing.

“I haven’t played in a month and it feels more like a year,” the 27-year-old Buxton said. “I’m fine to play right now, but it’s more about, ‘How will I feel tomorrow?’ It doesn’t bother me when I’m playing, but after.”

“I can’t wait. That’s how my swing is right now. I’m anxious, I’m pumped, I’m ready. I’m going to have to keep nagging at [Baldelli] until he puts me into the lineup.”

Does that work?

“Not really. It’s not as easy as you think, especially about injuries,” Buxton said. “He knows players pretty well. He knows if I come out here at less than 100%, something could possibly go wrong because I really don’t know how to play less than 100 percent. I know they want to keep me from making it worse. I just want to do my thing.”

Byron Buxton – via Star Tribune (6/14)

Buxton has a lot on the line.

Buxton’s eagerness is understandable. Every time he steps on the baseball field right now, he drops jaws. His play has finally caught up with his hype and he wants to show it off. I can’t blame him. Buxton still leads the Twins in many statistical categories, including WAR (2.6) and his three rehab appearances in St. Paul netted him two homeruns, an OPS over 2.000 and a batting average over .500.

Not only that, but Byron Buxton’s agent is probably in discussions with the Twins right now, on his future. And even after a month on the injured List, he’s still a leader on the AL All-Star ballot. But let’s slow down a bit. Because, if you ask Rocco Baldelli, Buxton needs to be protected from himself.

Can’t blame the Twins for caution.

We’ve all watched Byron Buxton for the last near-decade and we’ve all watched him take long stints on the injured list too. So I can’t blame the Minnesota Twins organization for holding him back, especially if they think he could be a detriment to his own future.

But, Rocco Baldelli is also infamous for pushing players to take rest and raise their hand whenever banged up. If Buxton thinks he and the Twins are being too cautious with his return, at what point does frustration turn to anger?

At the end of the day, this is Buxton’s decision.

Byron Buxton has just 1.5 years left on his entry-level contract (arbitration) with the Twins. The last thing they want to do while they negotiate with his agent in the background of the 2021 season, is piss him off. At the end of the day, if the Baxley GA native believes he’s healthy enough to play then you have to give him the benefit of the doubt.

Buck’s an adult who’s capable of making decisions for himself. Nobody is affected more by a future Byron Buxton injury than Byron Buxton. Sometimes you just have to send it.

Eric Strack | Minnesota Sports Fan