The Minnesota Twins could be without center fielder Byron Buxton for a month. X-Rays revealed Buxton suffered a fracture in his left hand after a hit by pitch in the sixth inning of Monday's extra innings win over the Cincinnati Reds.
Buxton was hit by a 94-mph fastball from Reds starter Tyler Mahle in the fourth inning, and played one more inning before being pulled in the sixth. He went 1-for-2 before being replaced by Nick Gordon in center field.
Following the game, the Twins announced Buxton has a fracture in his hand, and he was placed on the injured list Tuesday. Twins manager Rocco Baldelli explained that Buxton suffered a "boxer's fracture," a fracture at the base of the fifth metacarpal in his left hand.
"I feel immensely for him and what he's going through," Baldelli told reporters, including Megan Ryan of the Star Tribune. "This isn't fair. That's how I feel about the whole thing."
The Twins have yet to provide an exact timetable for Buxton's return, but he'll likely be sidelined for several weeks, at a minimum. It's a devastating blow for both the club and Buxton, who had just made his return from a lengthy injured list stint (missed 40 games) due to a Grade 2 hip strain.
"He is so tough, and he's willing to literally play with just about anything," Baldelli said. "He would have to not be able to walk for him to come out and say, 'I can't play.' The words never come out of his mouth. … He was in immense pain on the field after getting hit by that pitch, and I think anyone, including him, had to know if you're feeling something like that, it might not be a good situation. He doesn't react to pain. He just goes out there and keeps playing."
Buxton appeared in only three games (4-for-11 with a home run and double) for the Twins since May 6 before suffering the fracture. Injuries have been frequent for Buxton, but there's little he could have done about this tough-luck injury. On the season, Buxton is hitting .369/.409/.767 (224 OPS+) with 10 homers, 11 doubles and five stolen bases in just 27 games (110 plate appearances).
Minnesota won the American League Central two straight years, but it doesn't look like the Twins are going to three-peat. The Twins have won five straight, but still sit below .500 and fourth place in the division.