Twins’ rough start gets even worse with Byron Buxton headed to injured list

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The Minnesota Twins are off to a horrendous start, and now outfielder Byron Buxton is headed for an extended stint on the IL.

Entering Friday’s action, the Minnesota Twins have the second-worst winning percentage in MLB (.367, 11-19 record). In light of a 5-2 start, their recent run is even more dismal and now things have gotten worse. According to Phil Miller of the Minneapolis Star Tribune, outfielder Byron Buxton is headed to the injured list with a hip strain.

In a corresponding move, upper tier prospect outfielder Trevor Larnach will be added to the Twins’ roster. Per Miller, manager Rocco Baldelli said Buxton is likely going to be out “weeks” not the minimum 10 days.

Buxton was injured while running out a ground  ball in the ninth inning of Thursday’s game against the Texas Rangers. He has been battling injuries again this season, including a hamstring strain, but this time he’s apparently facing what seems like an annual extended absence.

Byron Buxton has been the Twins’ best player this season

Amid a litany of struggles up and down the Twins’ lineup, Buxton has been a legit early MVP candidate. Over 98 plate appearances so far he has a .370/.408/.772 slash-line (1.180 OPS, 235 OPS+) with nine home runs, 17 RBI, 10 doubles, 19 runs scored and five stolen bases. He has also maintained his elite defense in center field, with regular highlight plays.

Beyond Buxton, only Nelson Cruz (.300/.354/.580 slash-line, eight home runs, 21 RBI) is really hitting at a representative level in the Twins’ lineup right now. Luis Arraez (currently on the concussion IL) has been solid (.291 average), and his return will be welcome. But Max Kepler, Miguel Sano, Jorge Polanco and Mitch Garver have fallen far since being pieces of 2019’s record-setting “Bomba Squad.”

The Twins have a fleeting get-right opportunity this weekend on the road against the 9-23 Detroit Tigers. But with Buxton out now, it feels uncertain they’ll start their six-game road trip with even a series win.

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