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Twins Place Byron Buxton On IL With Rib Contusion

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The Twins announced that designated hitter Byron Buxton has been placed on the 10-day injured list, retroactive to June 3, with a left rib contusion. Outfielder Trevor Larnach was reinstated from the IL in a corresponding move.

Buxton, 29, has frequently had his health in the spotlight in his career. He’s one of the most talented players in the league when healthy but has struggled to maintain his production over extended stretches due to various injuries. He’s hit .252/.317/.541 since the start of 2019 for a wRC+ of 132 but hasn’t topped 92 games played in any of those campaigns.

The Twins were keenly aware of the ongoing concerns with Buxton when they signed him to a seven-year, $100MM extension going into 2022, though one with millions more available via incentives based on MVP voting. They hoped to keep him healthy this year by limiting him in the designated hitter role. That deprives him of some value since he’s no longer able to provide his typically excellent outfield defense, but it was hoped that it would at least allow him to stay in the lineup longer.

That plan hit a bump in the road when Buxton was drilled in the ribs by a pitch on Thursday last week. The club didn’t place him on the IL right away, taking a few days to see how the situation developed. It seems that the issue lingered long enough that they will give him at least another week off to recuperate. Prior to this injury, he hit .220/.325/.445 this year for a wRC+ of 115.

Losing Buxton’s bat surely isn’t a welcome development for the club, but one silver lining is that it should give him them a bit more flexibility to rotate other players through the DH slot and give them some partial off-days. Various players on the team having been dealing with minor injuries of late, including Carlos Correa, Royce Lewis, Jorge Polanco, Alex Kirilloff and Larnach.

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