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Rob Refsnyder "is not probably going to be available to do a ton" for the next day or two because of a hamstring injury, according to his manager, and Byron Buxton stretched a double into a triple Tuesday in St. Paul and looked like his old electrifying self, and an emergency swap of the center fielders just seems to make so much sense — right?
Not so fast, said Rocco Baldelli — and even Buxton agreed.
"I know I need time," Buxton said, deflating any #BuxtonNow! hashtag before it could begin trending. "Obviously [Tuesday] to everybody, my at-bats looked good, but to me, they didn't feel too good."
The Twins intend to give their Platinum Glove outfielder all the recuperating time he needs, tempting as it might be to insert him into their own lineup instead of the Class AAA Saints.
"On an emotional level, your head can go there, of course. We want him back as soon as possible. But it doesn't take too long when thinking about that question to know what the right answer is," Baldelli said. "And the right answer is to allow Buck to proceed with his rehab, to make sure we give him the best possible chance of coming back completely healthy, going out there and playing big-league games for us, and playing great."
Buxton said he can run full speed without any worry about his hip strain, as the extra gear he summoned as he rounded second base on Tuesday proved.
"I feel 100 percent," said Buxton, who injured his hip while running out a ground ball on May 6. "At-bats, I can tell I'm a little off, but other than that I feel good."
It should only take a couple of games to get his timing back against live pitching, Buxton said, and both the Saints and Twins are home all weekend.
Now the Twins just need the weather to cooperate. Buxton was scheduled to play center field, but a sudden late-afternoon summer thunderstorm delayed Wednesday's Saints game by 70 minutes and left the outfield grass too wet for the Twins to risk him slipping on it. He will try again at CHS Field on Thursday.
Who can play center?
Speaking of center fielders, Refsnyder wasn't the only fill-in ruled out of Wednesday's game. Kyle Garlick, who hadn't played the position as a professional until last week, was placed on the injured list because of a sports hernia.
Garlick had experienced some mild soreness, "but he made a move in the outfield during the game [Tuesday] while going after a ball, and he felt it," Baldelli said. A magnetic resonance imaging test revealed no serious damage, and surgery likely won't be necessary, he said.
Gilberto Celestino, the 22-year-old rookie who still has yet to play an inning in Class AAA, was recalled only two days after being sent to St. Paul, and he figures to man the position until Buxton returns. He was 0-for-12 in his first stint with the Twins.
Baldelli has already begun considering worst-case scenarios, too, especially if Refsnyder, who strained his left hamstring while running out a double, requires another trip to the injured list, still under consideration.
So who would be next? Perhaps Alex Kirilloff, who has some low-minors experience at the position. Maybe Nick Gordon, though Baldelli said he would like to see the backup infielder play a game or two in the minors before trying it out, though "that may not be a luxury that we have."
"Why would we talk about this without mentioning [Willians] Astudillo, too?" Baldelli said. "It'll give Astudillo something to talk about, too."
Stashak on big-league IL
The Twins also placed righthander Cody Stashak on their injured list Wednesday, even though Stashak hasn't been on their roster since being optioned to the Saints on May 28. Stashak was dealing with back soreness when he was sent down, and after pitching a bullpen session, the injury was diagnosed as a disc problem.
The Twins placed him on the major league injured list, retroactive to the day he was sent down, rather than have the Saints put him on the Class AAA list. Why does that matter? He will be paid the major league minimum — roughly $3,050 per day, about 10 times what he'd get in St. Paul — and be credited with service time while he recovers.