The Twins announced they’ve placed center fielder Byron Buxton on the 10-day injured list due to a low-grade right hip strain. Catcher/infielder Caleb Hamilton was recalled from Triple-A St. Paul to take his spot on the active roster. The club also confirmed the previously-reported selection of righty Aaron Sanchez to start tonight’s ballgame against the Astros, with lefty Devin Smeltzer optioned to St. Paul. Corner outfielder Alex Kirilloff, who is out for the season after undergoing wrist surgery this month, was transferred to the 60-day injured list to open a 40-man roster spot for Sanchez.
Buxton left last night’s contest with soreness in the hip, and manager Rocco Baldelli told reporters after the game that the issue had nagged at the star outfielder for much of the season (via Aaron Gleeman of the Athletic). The club announced he’d head for an MRI today. Darren Wolfson of SKOR North reports that the MRI didn’t reveal any serious issues, seemingly backed up by the team’s specification of a “low-grade” strain. It’ll nevertheless cost Buxton at least a week and a half of action.
It’s the second consecutive season in which Buxton has landed on the IL due to a right hip strain. His previous hip injury, suffered while running the bases, cost him nearly six weeks between May and June 2021. There’s no indication this issue is expected to be that severe — it seems unlikely given the generally optimistic tenor of the club’s prognosis — but even a couple weeks without the first-time All-Star will be a tough blow for a Minnesota team that is two games back of the Guardians in the AL Central and three games out of the American League’s final Wild Card spot.
In addition to the hip discomfort that has apparently plagued Buxton on and off all season, the club has been cautious with his workload as he nursed some soreness in his right knee. Being more judicious with his playing time had seemingly helped Buxton avoid an IL stint for the knee concerns, but he’ll land on the shelf for the first time all season with the hip issue. He’s spent some time on the IL in every year since 2017, but he’s continued to electrify when physically able to take the field. Buxton earned the first All-Star nod of his career this summer, and he’s blasted 28 home runs in 92 games. He’s hitting just .224 with a .306 on-base percentage, but the combination of his prodigious power and otherworldly center field defense has made him one of the game’s top outfielders.