Byron Buxton’s absence reached 10 days on Tuesday, but it’s no longer a concussion that’s keeping him out of the Twins’ lineup. Turns out, the dentist did it.
Buxton was informed recently that he needed some wisdom teeth removed, and since he already was on the injured list, he elected to have three teeth pulled last Friday, Twins manager Rocco Baldelli said.
Recovery from the procedure, Baldelli said, “we can either assume or know from experience, is not very pleasant. But it’s something that had to be done.”
The Twins center fielder, originally hurt when he dived for a sinking line drive in Cleveland on July 13, has been able to take batting and fielding practice for a couple of days, and did so Tuesday. But he’s still feeling discomfort from the dental work, and Baldelli decided to wait another day to restore him to the active roster.
The 25-year-old Buxton had the team’s blessing to get the work done while on the injured list, the manager said. “In some ways, this might seem like a tough time to do it, with all the other things he was dealing with,” Baldelli said. “But it was also probably a good time to do it, given that he was already going to be out at least a week with the other issues.”
It’s possible Buxton could return for the finale of the homestand Wednesday, the manager hinted, or the Twins might wait until they arrive in Chicago to play the White Sox. There has been no talk of a rehab assignment, though he’s only played 10 games in nearly six weeks. The Twins eschewed sending him to play minor league games when he returned from a wrist injury last month.
“I keep saying, we’re going to be there soon,” Baldelli said of Buxton’s return. “But we’re going to be there soon.”
Nelson Cruz said he couldn’t remember ever being awarded first base on catcher’s interference before Monday, at least not in the major leagues.
“The last one I can remember was in 1999, in the Dominican Summer League,” Cruz said. “I think [the catcher] was Carlos Ruiz. I was with the Mets, he was with the Phillies.”
Twenty years later, it happened again, this time with the bases loaded. Yankees starter CC Sabathia threw a slow slider, only 78 miles per hour, and catcher Gary Sanchez seemed to almost double-clutch as he reached for it. Cruz swung, and his bat made contact with Sanchez’s glove.
“It’s a strange way to drive in a run,” Cruz said. “But anything that brings a run in.”
So strange, in fact, that Cruz said he felt almost apologetic about the contact, since Sanchez’s hand was clearly stung by the blow.
“You feel bad. You want to make sure he’s not hurt,” Cruz said, even though it was clearly the catcher’s fault.
It’s a rare play, that somehow has happened to the Twins twice this season. On July 4th, Cruz was forced home from third base when Ehire Adrianza clipped A’s catcher Chris Herrmann’s glove with the bases loaded.
“Interference is a nightmare for a catcher in any circumstance,” said Bill Evers, who coaches the Twins’ catchers. “You can get hurt very easily, and you’re the one who gets penalized.”
Given the emphasis on pitch framing to get borderline pitches called strikes, it would seem likely that more inadvertent interference would occur.
“Catchers are trying to get as close to the hitter as possible,” Evers said. “You want to give the ball less room to travel after it crosses the plate.”
Tuesday afternoon was the third time this season that Fox Sports North devoted an hour of late-afternoon programming to televising batting practice.
Only one problem: The Twins didn’t take batting practice.
“We found out last night they weren’t going to hit. We said Ohhhhhh-kay,” host Anthony LaPanta said. “They said they would still take infield, so we said, all right, we’ll do an infield show. And then only two guys, [Luis] Arraez and [Jorge] Polanco took infield.”
Just part of the fun of live television. But LaPanta, confronted with about 55 minutes of airtime to fill — there were two 30-second commercial breaks, and a four-minute pretaped feature — said the show turned out well, thanks to a handful of interviews.
“It was a lot of talking. They tested us a little bit [Tuesday],” LaPanta said with a laugh. “But the interviews were great. We made it work.”