By KEVIN OKLOBZIJA
Told on Friday night that he would not be joining the Minnesota Twins in September, Byron Buxton put an end to his season on Saturday.
Buxton’s stall in the Rochester Red Wings clubhouse is empty, meaning he has played his lats game of the summer.
Major League rosters expanded from 25 to a maximum of 40 on Saturday but the Twins didn’t send for Buxton. They instead promoted pitchers Tyler Duffey and Andrew Vasquez along with outfielder Johnny Field. Another player or two could come up Tuesday.
Wings manager Joel Skinner didn’t provide any insight from his position regarding Buxton after Sunday’s 6-5 walk-off win over the Lehigh Valley IronPigs. Skinner said that Twins management had addressed the Buxton matter on Saturday, adding simply that “his season’s over.”
The Wings will play the final game of their International League season at 1:05 p.m. Monday.
Buxton, the speedy, multi-talented centerfielder did not play Saturday night, wasn’t at the season ticket holder autograph session on Sunday evening, and wasn’t in the Wings lineup on Sunday, either.
The premature end to his season is somewhat fitting considering the disastrous campaign he endured.
He started in a horrible slump with the Twins, with migraines quite likely contributing to his struggles at the plate . He went on the Major League disabled list April 15. Then while on rehab at Class-A Ft. Myers, he suffered a fractured big toe when he fouled a pitch into his left foot. He went back on the DL on May 30 because the toe still hadn’t healed.
He finally joined the Red Wings on rehab on June 19, the was optioned to Rochester on July 2 when the rehab assignment ended.
Less than two weeks later, on July 13, he went on the DL again, this time with a strained left wrist. He was reinstated on July 27 but went right back on the DL on Aug. 1 because the wrist was still ailing. He finally rejoined the Wings on Aug. 14.
Along the way, he has boosted his average from .193 on July 4 t0 .272 through Friday. He has four home runs, a .787 OPS, 42 strikeouts and nine walks.
With the Twins in April and May, he hit just .156 in 94 plate appearances with 28 strikeouts and just 3 walks.
In speaking with the media covering the Twins in Texas, general manager Thad Levine said one of the reasons that Buxton wasn’t coming back up was because the wrist is still a problem.
Levine said the organization will need to “make amends” with Buxton, according to a story by Mike Berardino of the St. Paul Pioneer Press/TwinCities.com.
That statement by itself says a whole lot more; primarily that the Twins admit they have not handled the situation properly.