Minnesota Twins center fielder Byron Buxton was cementing his spot as a superstar early in 2021, but injuries are once again getting in the way.
Buxton missed over a month of action after suffering a hip strain in mid-May. He returned from the injured list last week and was 4-for-12 with a pair of extra-base hits in his first three games off IL. It looked like the Twins star was picking up right where he left off.
Only, the baseball gods apparently just don’t want to see Buxton succeed.
The 27-year-old was hit by a pitch during Monday’s win over the Cincinnati Reds. Buxton suffered a fractured left hand and has once again been placed on the IL for an indefinite period of time.
As brutal as this loss is for the Twins, a team that will almost certainly sell ahead of the July 30 deadline, it’s even more saddening for Buxton.
The 2012 No. 2 overall pick has shown signs of fully unlocking his potential in the past couple seasons. He has displayed more of a power stroke, experiencing major gains in average exit velocity, barrel rate and hard-hit rate en route to more homers. Buxton had 10 homers and 11 doubles in his first 110 plate appearances.
Yet, the gains almost feel inconsequential because Buxton hasn’t been able to stay on the field. He has played over 100 games just once in his career, and that was all the way back in 2017.
Physical setbacks have continually dampened Buxton’s prospects as a bona fide star for the Twins. Hopefully he’ll be able to make a speedy recovery from this hand fracture.