Rocco Baldelli Needs to Play Byron Buxton
Rocco Baldelli hates playing hurt players more than he hates using shampoo. But now, his cautious approach is coming to head with the Minnesota Twins’ most important blue chip puzzle piece, Byron Buxton.
If you haven’t been following along, you can catch up HERE. Essentially, Buxton isn’t 100% recovered from his hip injury. But, he feels good enough to hit and play centerfield at a high level and recently dominated for the St. Paul Saints during a 3-game rehab stint over the weekend. Rocco, however, isn’t having it. He wants to see 100% or he doesn’t want to see Buck at all.
I am not a doctor. I don't know what the Twins' medical opinion is about what we just watched. But Byron Buxton ran five timed "sprints" in front of trainers and Rocco Baldelli, and did not appear to run at top speed in any of them. It does not seem that Buxton is healthy yet.— Phil Miller (@MillerStrib) June 17, 2021
Byron Buxton felt something in both rehab games, couldn't go full today.— danhayesmlb (@DanHayesMLB) June 17, 2021
Rocco Baldelli: "Mentally, he's at the point where he just wants to play regardless of how he feels. But he'll play when he's able to sprint … to run hard. … He's just not at that point yet." #MNTwins
Healthy enough for AAA but not MLB?
So what the fuck is really happening here? Byron Buxton is healthy enough for three appearances in St. Paul but he’s not healthy enough to play for the Twins? This smells weird all of a sudden. Look, I’m glad we have a baseball manager who’s more concerned about the team and players’ long term futures than he is about winning the next inning.
But, at some point during a 162 game season players are no longer 100% healthy. With Byron Buxton, history tells us he’ll be at full health less often than others. At some point, you’re going to have to test fate. Buxton’s already proven that he can play three baseball games without irritating his hip injury.
That’s more than what we’ve seen a healthy Buxton prove throughout his career.
This is Buxton’s future on the line. Let him decide it.
Minnesota Twins fans know all too well how quickly Byron Buxton can be taken from the game of baseball. The next play is never promised for anyone but Byron knows that lesson all too well. His game, season and even career could come to an end in one bad dive or collision with the fence. And that’s even more reason to play him if he’s ready and willing.
It’s Buxton’s future that’s at the line. He’s the one staring 100’s of millions of $$$ in the face, depending on how he plays over the next ~1.5 seasons. The Baxley GA kid isn’t a kid anymore. At 27 years old, I think Buck can make this decision about his own career. I mean, if this is Byron Buxton at less than 100% then I want want he’s having.
“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)
But this blog is just about me begging because, at this point, I’m guessing we see another injured list appearance before we see Buxton playing baseball again
Eric Strack | Minnesota Sports Fan