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Byron Buxton, who ran the bases twice during the Twins' road trip, took batting practice and chased fly balls before Tuesday's game at Target Field.

His next game, however, will be in St. Paul. Buxton is scheduled to play two games on a rehab assignment with the Class AAA Saints on Wednesday and Thursday, ruling him out from playing in the Twins' three-game series against the New York Yankees.

"We're just going to give him a few more days to settle into some high-speed activity and then I think we can activate him," manager Rocco Baldelli said.

Buxton, sidelined because of right knee inflammation, was eligible to return from the 10-day injured list Sunday. He's now lined up to join the Twins in Cleveland this weekend.

"With Byron's knee, we have to be a little bit cognizant of the fact that he hasn't really had a short IL stint with that," Twins head trainer Nick Paparesta said. "It's always been a long-term type of situation. For him to get out there and do those things, he just has to gain a little bit more of that confidence and trust in that thing, and I think that's kind of where we are now."

Runnin' Royce

Royce Lewis, out since Opening Day because of a partly torn quad in his right leg, is expected to take another step forward at the end of this week. He'll move from running in a straight line to doing change-of-direction drills.

"This is a big week for him in regards to volume," Paparesta said.

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Lewis' return is not imminent, though he is taking ground balls and swinging in the batting cage. Once he's running well while changing directions, his next hurdle will be running the bases for several days before he's cleared to begin a rehab assignment.

"Similar to Nick Gordon last year, it'll be a little bit lengthier progression of the bases due to the length of time he's been down," Paparesta said. "Then we'll get him into some rehab games from that point forward. Once he gets onto the bases, we'll have a pretty good idea of when that rehab progression will start."

Topa out until July

Twins reliever Justin Topa made four appearances on a rehab assignment before he was shut down with more soreness in his knee. He was diagnosed with a 25% tear of his left patellar tendon and he will be shut down for six weeks.

It's a disappointing setback for Topa, who was walking around the clubhouse with crutches Tuesday with his left leg immobilized in a brace.

"To have this, what I thought was a small little thing, snowball into a bigger, longer rehab type thing, it's extremely frustrating," Topa said. "Especially coming over to a new organization."

Topa, likely out through mid-July, declined knee surgery to try to salvage his 2024 season. He underwent platelet-rich plasma and stem cell injections after he received a second opinion from Dr. Tim Kremchek in Cincinnati.

"The injection was the best option to get back as fast as possible," said Topa, who had a 2.61 ERA over 69 innings for Seattle last year. "My goal from day one is to get this done and over with, pitch this year and make an impact this year. Unfortunately, there's a sense of, maybe, it was a waste of six weeks after the first go-round. This time we're on the right track."

When Topa, 33, initially felt knee pain in spring training, he said it was diagnosed as a "tendonitis type situation." He underwent a follow-up magnetic resonance imaging exam last week, receiving a second opinion when surgery was presented as an option.

"The goal here right now is to get it as best as possible, get into a spot that doesn't bother me throwing and circle back at the end of the season or maybe down the road" about surgery, Topa said.


* Twins reliever Brock Stewart underwent a platelet-rich plasma (PRP) injection in his right shoulder joint Monday. He hoped to begin throwing last weekend, but "we have to get his arm strength where it needs to be," Paparesta said.

* Michael Helman hit a three-run homer in the eighth inning while Diego A. Castillo produced four hits and three runs in the St. Paul Saints' 13-7 victory over the first-place Omaha Storm Chasers on Tuesday at CHS Field.