ST. PETERSBURG, FLA. — Kyle Garlick knew what Rocco Baldelli was going to say before the manager even opened his mouth.
"I had lunch with Trevor Larnach on Monday, the off day. As soon as I saw he was here, I kind of assumed I was the one getting sent down," Garlick said. "I usually can see the moves coming."
Well, not all of them.
Garlick, who had arrived at Tropicana Field around 1 p.m. Tuesday, was called into Baldelli's office around 2:30 p.m. to tell the outfielder he was being optioned back to Class AAA St. Paul. So he returned to the team's hotel around 4 p.m. and started to pack up his belongings.
"I was going to eat at the hotel, then go have a couple of drinks somewhere and watch the game," Garlick said. "Then they called me at 5:30 to say they're putting [Byron] Buxton on the injured list and that I was still active. So I had to call an Uber to get back to the field."
Garlick is used to the ups and downs of being a fill-in player. He's already been called up to the Twins three times this season, after all. But he's never been sent down and called up on the same day before. Technically, he wasn't — the Twins never officially filed the move with MLB, and simply waited until Buxton's condition became clear — but it certainly felt that way.
"You have to laugh about it more than anything," Baldelli said. "Kyle Garlick, he's very much a professional. He understands that different things happen. When I called him back, I asked him if he had had a couple of beers already. He said, 'No.' I said 'Good. Get back over here.' "
Garlick did, arriving at the Trop shortly before the 6:40 p.m. EDT first pitch. "I crushed some food, got in uniform, and then it was pretty much anthem time," he said. "Got to get ready to go." Baldelli sent him up to pinch hit for Max Kepler in the seventh inning — he flew out — and he finished the game in right field.
"I always try to stay positive when I get that news, but I've never heard of getting bad news and good news like that, a couple of hours apart," Garlick said with a laugh. "Crazy day. I'm glad I didn't go to dinner."
The Twins will travel to Toronto on Thursday night, but Buxton will return to Minneapolis and begin preparing for his return from bruised ribs at Target Field. He does so, the team's designated hitter said, reluctantly, knowing that he's leaving a team that's trying to fight through a hitting slump without him.
"You see a lot of frustrations going through the whole team [and] it's just a little more frustrating that I can't help," said Buxton, who will be eligible to return on the first day of next week's homestand. "Nothing I can do about it, just rest up and heal."
As for his teammates, who scored four total runs in the first four games of his absence, "Maybe we're overdoing it, overthinking. Could be we're trying too hard. Definitely feels like we're pressing ourselves a little bit," Buxton said. His prescription? "Getting back to being a little more aggressive. Early in the year, we were a very aggressive team. Now we overreact [by] not swinging in the zone, trying to make sure it's a strike."
- Alex Kirilloff served as the designated hitter on Wednesday, the fourth different Twin to handle the duty in the five games Buxton has missed this week. It's a handy way to give players a break without removing them from the lineup, Baldelli said, but he hasn't planned who else will fill that role over the weekend.
- General Manager Thad Levine, on watching coverage of traded-away Luis Arraez's batting average surpassing .400: "I'm excited to see if he can do this. We still have very fond attachments to him, and it would be amazing if somebody could actually do it. … Sometimes when they report on him, they say we traded him. I like the first part of the story, where they say he's chasing .400."