Twins' playoffs hopes receive another big blow with Byron Buxton's season-ending surgery

Jack BaerWriter
Yahoo Sports
<a class="link rapid-noclick-resp" href="/mlb/players/9590/" data-ylk="slk:Byron Buxton">Byron Buxton</a> leaves a big hole in the Twins' outfield. (AP Photo/Tony Dejak, File)
Byron Buxton leaves a big hole in the Twins' outfield. (AP Photo/Tony Dejak, File)

The Minnesota Twins were already on track to enter the postseason without one of their most dependable starting pitchers in Michael Pineda. Now, they’ll be missing one of their most talented players overall.

Center fielder Byron Buxton was placed on the 60-day injured list after undergoing torn labrum surgery on his left shoulder Tuesday, Twins manager Rocco Baldelli told reporters via

The recovery timetable for Buxton’s surgery is reportedly estimated at 5-6 months, so Buxton should be ready for the beginning of the season next year.


"It is a reality that we knew was very possible, and maybe, even, at different times, probable," manager Rocco Baldelli said. "It's still disappointing, obviously, to lose Buck -- the player and the guy -- for the rest of the year. But we're going to do whatever we can to support Buck. We need to make sure that he gets right physically."

Buxton has been mostly out since initially injuring his shoulder on Aug. 1, appearing in only five games over that span and only as a pinch-runner and defensive replacement.

A breakout year ends for Byron Buxton

The injury derailed what had been a career year for Buxton. After struggling with contact for his entire career, the 25-year-old held a career-high .262 batting average and was slugging a robust .513, though he could have been one of many players assisted by the juiced ball.

One of the best defensive outfielders in baseball, Buxton will be missed.

The Twins were likely hoping Buxton would be healthy by the time the playoffs roll around, but now the team will have to depend on other players to fill the center-field gap. Max Kepler and Jake Cave have seen the majority of starts in center with Buxton out.

Twins also missing Michael Pineda

The Twins currently hold a five-game lead over the Cleveland Indians in the American League Central with fewer than 20 games left to play. Baseball Prospectus gives them a 99.6 percent chance to make the playoffs and a 97.2 percent chance to win the division for the first time since 2010.

It should be a fun time to be a Twins fan, but Buxton and Pineda leave hard-to-fill holes on their roster. Pineda was suspended 60 games last week after testing positive for a diuretic that is banned under MLB’s performance enhancing drugs policy.

Pineda was the team’s third-best starter this year behind Jose Berrios and Jake Odorizzi. Now, he’s ineligible for the postseason, and the team will have to pick a much less-established option for its postseason rotation.

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