Byron Buxton will take batting practice in an empty ballpark Thursday, the Twins confirmed. It’s the first tangible sign that the Twins outfielder, who hasn’t played since Aug. 1 due to a dislocation of his right shoulder joint, is progressing toward a return this season.
But Buxton probably won’t simply slip back into the lineup once he’s healthy again, manager Rocco Baldelli said. The fact that he missed two weeks with concussion symptoms, then played only seven games before suffering the shoulder injury in a collision with the wall in Miami means Buxton has played only nine games since July 13.
“There’s a chance Buck goes out and plays a couple of games [on a minor league rehab assignment] before we would even think about activating him at this level,” Baldelli said. “I just think that makes sense.”
The manager said all signs are positive, however, and he hopes Thursday’s workout will be one more.
“He’s been swinging. He’s been taking part in baseball activities,” Baldelli said. “He looks good, he feels good, and he’s got a smile on his face.”
Eddie Rosario, on the other hand, has something new to deal with. He grounded a ball to shortstop in the fourth inning and ran stiffly to first base. He was removed an inning later with tightness in his right hamstring.
“Luckily, we have the off day coming up, and we should know more soon,” Baldelli said. “It wasn’t like an acute injury or anything, but even something moderately serious is something we’re going to spend time on.”
Rosario missed 13 games with a sprained ankle last month.