Buxton says compensation for knee issue contributed to hip strain

·4 min read

Byron Buxton held out for as long as he could, but the injured list was still an unavoidable fate in 2022.

"It was tough. Probably talked to [Twins manager] Rocco [Baldelli] for about 30 minutes to talk about not going on the IL. Just give me three days," Buxton explained before the Twins' game Friday against San Francisco. "But in retrospect, to understand it wasn't going to be something that was a couple days anyway, put it in perspective. … That was the goal for me, to not be on the IL this year. Unfortunately, it happened."

Buxton will sit out at least 10 days, likely longer, with a right hip strain after leaving Monday's game against the Rangers early. The center fielder has dealt with patellar tendinitis in his right knee all season, so the hip injury seemed new. But Buxton said it's more a product of compensation from his knee.

In treating his knee — including with a platelet-rich plasma injection during the All-Star break — Buxton said he also worked on corresponding areas including his hip, adductors and IT band. And while Buxton had issues with his right hip that kept him out for several weeks in 2021, he said this injury feels different.

Buxton did more treatment while the Twins were on the road in Houston, on both his hip and knee, but he said he's still just waiting for his body to settle. So there isn't a concrete return timeline in place.

The Twins signed speedy outfielder Billy Hamilton to a minor league contract this week, but Baldelli said the veteran's addition is not an indication that Buxton's outlook on taking the field again this season is grim.

But whether he's manning center field or not, Buxton said he still has something to bring to the team.

"I was walking around, trying to get some milk for my little boy. Some woman just walked up and was like, 'I like your charisma.' I was like, 'OK,' " Buxton recounted of a recent interaction. "I had to look that up and see exactly what that was. It was something that just kind of stuck with me the last couple days, watching us play, and it didn't look like we were smiling, being positive, having fun like we normally would. So that's something I feel like I can bring back, turn it around, even if I'm not playing."

Garlick returns

The Twins faced 10 lefthanded starting pitchers in the 21 games Kyle Garlick was out with fractured cartilage in his right rib. But the specialist at hitting off lefthanders was back at the top of the Twins' lineup Friday in time to face San Francisco lefty Alex Wood.

"It' s definitely a big pick-me-up type of thing for us," Baldelli said of Garlick's return from the IL. "A lot of the games against lefthanded pitching, especially, where we've really broken things open and done a good job, when you think about it and go back and look, he's been right in the middle of everything almost in every one of those games."

Baldelli said he hasn't encountered a run of lefthanders like this in a very long time. And possibly related, the team is in a hitting slump. Minus a three-game sweep of the Royals in mid-August in which the Twins were 10-for-31 with runners in scoring position, they have gone 12-for 75 since Aug. 9.

Garlick isn't necessarily fully healed, but the pain is manageable, and he's coming off a two-game rehab assignment with the St. Paul Saints. He has eight homers in 51 games with an .833 OPS with the Twins this season and could help the Twins re-energize their offense.

"It relieves some of the burden for others who may be feeling like they have to carry the load in some ways," Baldelli said. "Are any of these things definite? No, they're not. … Truthfully, the vast majority of the time when you have good players, they eventually, and usually fairly quickly, find themselves and eventually start having the at-bats that they're used to. Almost never will quality offensive individuals go into an extended offensive break. So I would expect the guys to snap out of it quickly either way."

The Twins designated infielder Tim Beckham for assignment to make room for Garlick.

Etc.Starter Tyler Mahle is also on the IL because of right shoulder fatigue but threw a 15-20 pitch bullpen Friday as he works toward a comeback in the near future.